WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A smartphone application called MyWoundDoctor can help people needing wound care get quick access and treatment from a certified healthcare provider.
Here's a simple version of how it can work: You snap a picture of the wound, select where on your body it's located, and share a few more details about your condition. Then 30 minutes to four hours later, you'll receive a doctor's assessment, treatment instructions, and personalized supplies mailed to your home in a few days.
"It's sort of a self-serve model," said Dan Heneghan, the CEO of MyWoundDoctor, LLC which is based in Wilmington.
MyWoundDoctor was founded in 2015 by Heneghan and Dr. Nick Sieveking, a board-certified plastic surgeon.
Heneghan said he was talking with Sieveking, who said his patients had been sending pictures of wounds to him through his smartphone.
"He said, 'What are your thoughts on this?'" Heneghan recalls. "And I thought, 'Well this is a good idea, but you're also getting pictures over your personal phone, which is going to be a security risk.'"
The two decided to create a telemedicine solution to help patients with wounds heal more quickly, combining Heneghan's business experience and Sieveking's clinical knowledge.
Today, MyWoundDoctor is licensed in more than 42 states and has been implemented in large healthcare systems and in about 40 prisons in the U.S.
There are several different ways people can get health care through the app. In some states where the app is licensed, a patient can directly send pictures on their own and get an assessment from MyWoundDoctor's team in Nashville, Tenn.
In other states, the company only has credentials to work with patients through their existing healthcare provider.
MyWoundDoctor has applied for direct-to-patient credentials for North Carolina and expects to be able to provide that later this fall. Right now, the company can support primary care physicians in the state.
Different kinds of wounds can be cared for using the app's services, including chronic wounds like those resulting from diabetes complications and acute wounds like a non-emergency burn or spider bite.
Patients typically send 2-3 photos per week for the first few weeks, but have the ability to get unlimited care from the flat fee to use the app. The supplies that MyWoundDoctor sends include gloves, antimicrobial soap, gauze sponges, barrier spray, and more.
Later after about three to four weeks of wound care, patients tend to send in photos every other week. The company can adjust the number of supplies they ship based on that feedback.
The app has been an effective solution to helping people in prisons get access to wound care, said Heneghan.
"Prison health care in the U.S. is, for the most part, outsourced to private companies," said Heneghan. "It's not the easiest thing in the world to get a specialist to go into an infirmary in a prison, probably not the work that somebody would like to do, but on the other hand, they need that expertise."
If the specialized doctor does not go into the prison, the inmate has to be taken to the hospital which requires two guards in an armored car, said Heneghan.
"We've been fortunate to have four of the top companies in the country that support prison health care are contracted with us to support their different states," said Heneghan.
Heneghan has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 30 years, including a number of startup companies. He sees this app as a way of augmenting human healthcare to help increase access, including to rural areas.
"I see that as still maintaining that human element, because somebody is actually looking at you, having a conversation, they're communicating in your own language back through an app," said Heneghan. "So they're not just giving you stock answers, they're reading what you've said and communicating directly back to you."
The app is available in the iOS App Store and Android Google Play in English and Spanish.