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August 1999

Computers or Simple Wound Measurements: When Greek Meets Greek, Then Comes the Tug-of-War!—Reply

Author Affiliations

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Arch Dermatol. 1999;135(8):993. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Dermatol.-ISSN-0003-987x-135-8-dlt0899

In reply

We agree with Dr Kanthraj that computer-based wound measurement is not necessarily inaccessible to physicians, and we agree that computers are a very useful adjunct to the health care system in general. The purpose of our article1 was not to malign the use of computer-based wound measurement, but rather to investigate whether simple wound measurements often used in clinical practice, such as the length and width of a wound, reflect the computer-based planimetry used in clinical trials. As such, we did not intend to imply that computer-based wound measurement is inaccessible by definition, but rather that the realities of the health care system coupled with the relatively slow rate of physician adoption of novel technologies present a situation in which computer-based planimetry is used only rarely by anyone other than wound care specialists. Moreover, even if computer-based wound measurement did not involve high costs, the inconvenience of scanning a wound tracing (or sending one in to a centralized center, as suggested by Kanthraj) is not insignificant. Finally, wound assessment is ideally accomplished in real time; a 1-day or 1-week lag between physical measurement and knowledge of the wound size would not allow the physician to provide the patient with immediate feedback regarding the size of the wound and its relative change in size from the previous measurement. This delay would also require physicians to reenter data in a chart.

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