Clinical protocols for the treatment of specific wounds can vary considerably from country to country. Venous stasis ulcers, which account for approximately 4% of wounds and 75% of leg ulcers, are treated with short stretch compression bandages in Germany, elastic adhesive bandages in Italy, high compression bandages in France and multi-layer compression systems in the UK. As in the US, the routine use of strong antiseptics is discouraged in the UK and Germany but still prevalent in East European countries as well as the Netherlands and Italy.
The quest for standardized modern approaches to wound healing is aided by groups such as the European Wound Management Association and European Tissue Repair Society, which encourage pan-European dialogue on issues pertaining to wound care. Such organizations have had significant effect on the development of US wound care policy and practices.
The proliferation of different wound care products and strategies leads to confusion and uncertainty over the best practice options. Clinical comparisons between treatment modalities have been minimal, with reliance on small, product-focused studies that often omit the wider context under which wounds are treated. Users of wound care products rely on manufacturers for performance data and increasingly turn to the larger manufacturers for staff education and wound care treatment protocols that will naturally include the use of the large number of products in the manufacturer’s line. In many countries in Europe, testing procedures have been developed by government-supported cross-company working panels that meet regularly to define specific protocols for testing products. These tests gradually become adopted by manufacturers as first lines of evaluation for new technologies.
The emerging use of electronic devices for wound documentation and assessment is expected to allow the comparison of large numbers of wounds undergoing different integrated approaches to wound care and begin to differentiate those activities that provide the most benefit to wound healing. As in the rest of the world, studies need to become larger, more standardized and complete to allow scientific comparison of products and practices that include multiple product classes and the management of the underlying conditions that create chronic wounds.
In addition, electronic devices for recording individual patient data are becoming available. These devices are important to ensure continuity of treatment, particularly in the home environment where several visiting nurses may see a single patient over a period of weeks. Without a good monitoring tool a complex and inconsistent mix of products and strategies could be applied.
See report #S247 from MedMarket Diligence.