The strategic alliance will focus on the use of the SEM scanner early detection technology to attack the UK’s £2 billion+ health problem

AN INNOVATIVE research collaboration between the University of Huddersfield and the Los Angeles-based medical device company Bruin Biometrics (BBI, LLC) has been revealed.  

Experts at the University’s award-winning Institute for Skin Integrity & Infection Prevention (ISaIP) will apply their knowledge to research using BBI’s SEM Scanner technology (pictured above), a handheld device that can detect pressure ulcers developing under the skin earlier than visual inspection of the skin surface. 

“Living with pressure ulcers is a long and involved journey for patients and their caregivers, and a heavy cost burden on the NHS,” said Professor Karen Ousey of the University’s Skin Institute. 

“It is critical for researchers and clinicians to embrace new technology to prevent avoidable patient harm so patients might have a better chance to reach optimal outcomes. We are delighted to collaborate with Bruin Biometrics on this important project.” 

This research will be ground-breaking in its contribution to the biological understanding of pressure ulcer development

Professor Gefen

SEM Scanner was recently awarded Health Service Journal’s award for Best Product or Innovation for Patient Safety for its role in reducing pressure ulcer incidence in NHS hospitals. 

The partnership aims to transform care for pressure ulcers by harnessing the expertise in fundamental science and clinical medicine at both the University and BBI to address the full continuum of that care, from prediction and diagnosis to new therapies and intervention monitoring, to identify opportunities to improve the patient experience and outcomes. 

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Professor Karen Ousey from the University of Huddersfield and Visiting Professor Amit Gefen from Tel Aviv University

The research will be co-led by Professor Ousey, and Professor Amit Gefen, a Visiting Professor from the Tel Aviv University and an international authority on biomechanics and mechanobiology contributing to the pathology of chronic wounds. 

“This work directly supports the overall vision of the Institute to provide translational research which fundamentally improves quality of life for patients through a “bench to bedside” approach entrenched in scientifically rigorous methods with a clinical focus,” said Professor Ousey, a member of BBI’s Scientific Advisory Board.  Professor Ousey was recently shortlisted for Tissue Viability Nurse of the Year for 2017 by the British Journal of Nursing and is a winner of the Journal of Wound Care’s 2017 Best Clinical Research Award. 

Professor Gefen is the former President of the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP), recipient of recent career awards from the World Union of Wound Healing Societies (2016) and the EPUAP (2017) and Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Biomechanics. 

He said: “This research will be ground-breaking in its contribution to the biological understanding of pressure ulcer development, including the use of biophysical markers, such as sub-epidermal moisture (SEM), to support early detection, personalization of pressure ulcer care and implementation of innovative technology-supported clinical approaches.” 

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The SEM Scanner by Bruin Biometrics

The partnership was developed on the heels of the Wound Care: Innovations to Clinical Trials (WCICT) conference where Professor Ousey and Dr Gefen were joined by experts Professor Zena Moore (Head of the School of Nursing & Midwifery at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), Professor Dimitri Beeckman (Ghent University, Department of Public Health), and Henry Okonkwo, PA (Skilled Wound Care) where they emphasised the need for new technology for pressure ulcer prevention, such as the SEM Scanner

"BBI and the University of Huddersfield share a vision of transforming pressure ulcer management through early detection technology so we can precisely diagnose, treat and possibly even prevent pressure ulcers from occurring,” said  Rachael Lester, BBI’s Vice President Product. 

“We anticipate that our work together will provide new insight that adds to earlier findings showing that the SEM Scanner provides an alert to enable clinicians to intervene early and reverse damage before pressure ulcers break through the skin and turn potentially deadly.”