International winner – SmartHEAL
When covered by a dressing, it is very hard to know how well a wound is healing. The most common mistake in wound healing is changing the dressing too often, which can lead to infections and tissue disruption1.
Current methods of assessing a wound rely on subjective scoring of colour, smell, temperature – or expensive laboratory biochemical tests2. Poor wound healing not only leads to tissue inflammation, but also necrosis (death of body tissue that is irreversible), and can lead to severe illness or death.
In Southeast Asia region, it is estimated that the proportion of elderly people aged 60 and above will increase from 9.8% to 20.3% by 20503. In 2021, there were just over 639 thousand residents aged 65 and above in Singapore4. Elder people face diverse health issues – one of them being a slower recovery process making chronic wounds a persistent problem in this population.
SmartHEAL is a precise, affordable and scalable smart pH sensor for dressings. By using Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) communication systems and monitoring the pH of a wound, SmartHEAL can assess the wound’s condition and detect infection without removing the dressing, and therefore without disrupting the tissue5. Medical professionals can subsequently analyse the data and prescribe the appropriate treatment for the wound. Smart bandages create and preserve a balanced wound environment6.
The team will finish testing and then start clinical trials. Their aim is to then finish the certification process in three years’ time so they can start to distribute and sell SmartHEAL dressings in 2025.