Although wound care has been practiced for centuries, telewound care is a relatively new concept. Currently, only a few pilot programs are in existence. Telewound care has yet to achieve the popularity and recognition of its other telemedicine predecessors amongst members of the health care industry and public alike. The tremendous potential of incorporating the technology of telemedicine into wound care needs to be realized. Wound care is a representation of the care of chronic and debilitating conditions that require long-term specialized care. We have seen the positive effects of improved living conditions and advances in health care globally. The result: people are now living longer. Every day a small piece is added to the pie: the percentage of worlds' elderly and those with chronic medical conditions that would require medical attention is rising. With the escalating costs of health care, and the push of the industry towards outpatient care, this is a part of the health care crisis that is demanding our immediate attention. We have seen positive outcomes in the care of other chronic medial conditions using telemedicine such as home telecare programs. In addition, the effectiveness of several programs using available advances in technology such as the field of radiology has been established. Wound care can build on success created in these fields to create an effective and useful method of care.
The aim of this chapter is to recognize the impact of this problem, to introduce several pilot programs in several different aspects of wound care and to build on current resources in order to achieve a novel method of wound care. The goal would be to create a technologically advanced, cost-effective and user-friendly program, and be able to bridge the gap between the sick and available specialized care. Both store-and-forward technology and televideo have a role to play in telewound care, the latter greater in the role of home telecare and teleconsultation, and the former in post-operative patients and the follow-up of chronic wounds. Either way, both have been underutilized and underdeveloped. With the advances in the field of telecommunications in connecting people across distances at a fraction of the time and costs, improved outcomes reported in other fields of telemedicine and positive legislative changes, there is an enormous potential in this field. We now have the ability, knowledge and resources to develop telewound care programs, which can provide high quality patient care in a more concise and cost-effective way. It is certainly a welcoming relief to a field that has traditionally been known to pose an emotional, physical and financial drain to all those involved.