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smart bandage

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A smart bandage is a wound dressing with added technology to sense wound healing progress, dispense medication and upload progress-related data.

As a part of health IT, smart bandages could help deal with chronic wounds and problematic infections and even help prevent amputations.

Smart bandages use sensors to track wound healing. Typical sensors are a pH level sensor, which measures acidity, and a thermal sensor, which measures heat. The data gathered by the sensors is uploaded to a mobile device through 5G wireless or Bluetooth. The system is able to dispense medicine through a hydrogel pack with a heating element on the back. A microprocessor reads data gathered by the sensors and activates the thermal pad to administer medication as needed.

Smart bandages can also help during the aftercare of a wound. Normally, an individual would have to remove the dressing and inspect the wound and problems may progress rapidly if signs of infection, like changes in heat and acidity, aren't immediately noticed. The smart bandage can track these changes in real time, detecting problems before they become serious.

While there is excitement around smart bandages and their possible uses, there are also concerns about security. Some critics fear that the devices could be a gateway to medical data theft, which can lead to PHI breaches and medical identity theft.

This was last updated in October 2018

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