Today, 1 in 3 Singaporeans above 70 years old is diagnosed with diabetes, and this number is projected to increase to 1 in 2 by 2050[i].
Within this population, the incidence of diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs) is reported to be 4%–10%, with a 1-in-4 risk of ulceration during a lifetime[ii]. Given Singapore’s rapidly ageing population as well as the rise of diabetes rates, higher incidence rates of Pressure Ulcers and DFUs are expected.
However, treating DFUs and other such wounds present a challenge due to the manual nature of assessment and monitoring as well as the specialised skillset that is needed. A Singapore based start-up’s latest technological innovation might just change the future of wound management.
Tetsuyu Healthcare created CARES4WOUNDS, a state-of-the-art wound management application that provides easy 3D imaging, non-contact measurements of wounds. The application further eases the process of wound management as staff can record 2D and 3D images of wounds using the application on a tablet attached with a 3D scanner. The observations are then recorded with an intelligent dropdown list with accompanying visual references to minimize writing and facilitate clinical education.
This significantly increases the efficiency and quality of wound assessments carried out. Clinicians can also remotely monitor wound healing progress and leverage on video-consultations to reduce travel time and lead to timely interventions.
When asked about the inspiration behind the creation of CARES4WOUNDS, Co-founder and Director of Tetsuyu Healthcare, Ms Ng Li Lian shared with us on the shortage of skilled nursing care and the tedious nature of wound management. In coming up with CARES4WOUNDS, the team thought this innovation could be integral to alleviating “…the markets where skilled wound nurses are rare and especially where patients stay in remote areas”.
CARES4WOUNDS could also be repurposed as a training tool to up-skill nurses and other care workers to improve wound care. It might just answers the many concerns of wound nurses in the community. Tetsuyu plans to continue developing CARES4WOUNDS by adding image processing to automate tissue classification and guide treatment plans.
Expansion to Japan
In a recent news shared to us, Tetsuyu Healthcare will be sharing its innovation to Japan with the support of one of the largest conglomerates in Japan – Sojitz.
Ageing Asia is delighted to know of the success of this partnership between Tetsuyu Healthcare who has been a member of our network since 2018 and Sojitz. Sojitz has also been a partner of Ageing Asia’s curated ageing innovation exhibition showcase for the past two editions, which Tetsuyu participated in, too.
Sojitz plans to introduce Tetsuyu’s remote healthcare system that integrates ICT and AI capabilities in Japan. This integrated system allows medical professionals to do consultations and clinical monitoring remotely. The system also stores patient’s daily health data in the cloud, and the data is further assessed by AI for the treatment plans. This integrated system is current being adopted in Singapore. It would also be introduced to Japan with the support from Sojitz’s investment and partnership. Sojitz plans to further promote the innovation in China and S.E.A through its global network.
Ageing Asia is proud to have facilitated the introduction, and to help propagate a homegrown based start-up’s vision to “transform delivery paradigms in long-term eldercare through innovative care models and technology”.
This article was first published in the Ageing Asia Alliance Journal – May 2019 issue, and updated in July 2020.
[i]Health Correspondent, Salma Khalik, Ms. “1m Diabetics by 2050 as S’poreans Get Older, Fatter.” National University Health System.
Local ST 2 Oct 1m diabetics by 2050 as S’poreans get older fatter.pdf.
[ii] World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS), Florence Congress, Position Document. Local management of diabetic foot ulcers. Wounds International, 2016