Digital imaging library launch for identification and treatment of wounds

Identifying the different stages or classifications of pressure injuries (bed sores) has always been a challenge. Dr Suzanne Kapp’s Pressure Injuries Digital Imaging Library (PIDIL) is set to change this, with creation of a photograph database of the different stages of pressure injures, which be readily accessible to inform research and education on a global scale.

Photograph of nurse with Elderly womanThe PIDIL project will address many current issues associated with photographing pressure injuries. This includes optimising the clarity and quality of photographs available for research and education and establishing clearer ethical guidelines involving consent for image use and sharing. There are six stages of pressure injuries that, generally speaking, reflect the severity of the wound. A major strength of the PIDIL is that it will offer a standardised approach to facilitate assessment and identification of these stages. This will better prepare healthcare providers to undertaken assessments in real practice and, therefore, better prepare them to prescribe the right treatments.

“Our goal is to make the PIDIL available to nurses, doctors, allied health and students across local and international universities and hospitals,” says Dr Kapp.

Photograph of Elderly woman with carer looking at phoneThe PIDIL will include a range of images across all anatomical areas of the body, consisting of a variety of skin types and age ranges, with all pressure injury images being taken by a professional clinical photographer. Crucially, all participants being photographed will provide informed consent for use of the images in the library,  and understand exactly how their health information will be used. This is important as there is a real risk that wound images can be shared by healthcare providers (with good intentions) however not with the correct broad consent for this use from the patient.  Each photograph will follow a strict protocol ensuring consistency in the distance, lighting, and high quality of the images. Additionally, the wounds will have calibration arrows to assist in identifying the depth and size of the injury.   The images will be reviewed by an expert, international panel to achieve consensus on the resulting library of images prior to the library being made freely available to healthcare services and universities locally and internationally.

The PIDIL is a Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences led project being conducted in partnership with the Royal Melbourne Hospital.