Digital wound care startup Swift Medical is building out its imaging capabilities to enable more advanced care in patients' homes.
The company unveiled a new hardware device that wirelessly attaches to a smartphone camera and captures beneath-the-skin clinical data. The device, called Swift Ray 1, fits into the palm of a clinician or patient's hand and allows them to capture powerful medical images from anywhere, according to the company.
There can be signs that a wound isn't healing properly that can't be seen with the naked eye, according to Carlo Perez, co-founder and CEO of Swift Medical. The technology enables doctors and nurses to collect critical data at the patient's bedside, he said.
A patient recovering from surgery also can use the imaging device to scan the surgical site to identify the early stages of an infection so a doctor can intervene earlier, he said.
The advanced imaging enables the capture of accurate clinical data for every patient, regardless of skin tone, making wound care more equitable for everyone, according to executives.
“The future of wound care goes beyond what the naked eye can perceive and beyond the walls of the clinic, which is why our dream has always been to equalize and improve healthcare access for humanity through intelligent diagnostics,” Perez said in a statement. “The Swift Ray 1 gets us one step closer by helping clinicians and patients see below the surface of the skin, to heal wounds faster or prevent them from ever even developing.”
The Canadian startup, launched in 2015, built an app for remote wound care. The company developed its first product as an artificial-intelligence-powered, digital wound platform that allows any patient or clinician to capture high-precision images of skin or wound conditions with any smartphone camera. Swift Medical's technology is able to capture wound care information by waving the smartphone above the injured site in a “wand-like fashion.” It is also able to determine the depth of the injury. The technology captures wound images and measurements without the doctor or nurse having to touch the wound. Swift Medical also digitizes, tracks and automates the wound care management workflow.
The new device captures and analyzes important physiological characteristics of wounds that can indicate causes for concern or improper healing such as signs of infection, bacterial colonization, tissue compromise, perfusion, inflammation or blood oxygen levels. The new device illuminates these invisible, beneath-the-skin characteristics through long-wave infrared, near infrared, ultraviolet and enhanced RGB imaging technology.
The technology also integrates directly into many of the leading electronic health records to help clinicians both improve clinical efficiency and ensure all relevant medical information is recorded in a patient’s chart.
The challenges of providing wound care are exacerbated by the reality that high-quality care traditionally requires highly trained clinicians using multiple pieces of bulky, expensive equipment in an institutional setting. With the new imaging device, Swift Medical was able to combine several different imaging capabilities that traditionally have required large, separate and expensive medical imaging devices into a single, portable device, Perez said.
“The technology can fit in your pocket. That means it can go anywhere a doctor or nurse goes. It means it’s on them, whenever they need it, wherever their patients are,” said Mike Comer, founder and CEO at Wound Care Advantage, in a statement. “There’s no forgetting it on the shelf or fumbling around with wires and clunky imaging devices. You just take it from your pocket and snap a photo. It really does make wound care accessible anywhere.”
As the digital health market has boomed, Swift Medical has grown rapidly. It inked a deal with one of the largest home health providers, AccentCare, to get its technology into the hands of thousands of care providers.
The company has expanded into technology to support decentralized clinical trials, taking on a more than $44 billion market that’s steadily growing. The technology, called Swift Scientific, provides research-grade clinical imaging to support decentralized clinical trials and turns a smartphone into a medical-grade imaging device.
The company has raised $48 million in venture capital to date, according to Crunchbase.
Patients with wounds frequently suffer from other, more eminent, conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, which conceal the severe impact of wounds. In the U.S., more than 30% of all healthcare beds are occupied by patients with wounds, costing Medicare alone nearly $100 billion annually. Patients with wounds often experience chronic pain, loss of mobility, social isolation, depression, frequent hospitalization, amputation and even death.
The company's technology is used by over 4,000 healthcare organizations to improve the prevention, treatment and management of wounds.
"We are on a mission to transform wound care," Perez said.