Guest Editorial: Electronic Tools for Enhanced Patient Outcomes

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Carolyn Watts, MSN, RN, CWON, WOCN® Society President

As president of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, it has been my pleasure to work with the Society’s Board of Directors and staff on a variety of initiatives designed to enhance wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) specialty practice and help WOC nurses achieve better outcomes for their patients across the continuum of care. During my tenure as president, one of the Society’s primary areas of focus was the development of electronic tools to enable WOC nurses to locate important information quickly as well as to provide non-WOC clinicians assistance in treating patients with WOC-related conditions in the event a WOC nurse is not available. I am pleased to share a few of these tools with you, and I hope that you will be able to incorporate them into your practice and share them with your colleagues. 

Support Surface Selection Algorithm Available at:

Selecting the proper support surface for the prevention and treatment of pressure injuries is an integral part of the WOC nurse’s responsibilities. However, due to resource and time constraints, WOC nurses often are unable to see every patient in need of a support surface; at these times, the bedside clinician may need to select the appropriate support surface. The WOCN Society created the Support Surface Selection Algorithm to provide non-WOC clinicians the ability to choose a support surface via an evidence- and consensus-based mobile tool. We recently updated the algorithm to include a support surface product formulary to assist in identifying the correct surface in specific categories. 

Venous Leg Ulcer Algorithm Available at:

It can be difficult to determine the appropriate use of compression therapy for primary prevention, treatment, and prevention of recurrence of venous leg ulcers. The WOCN Society has removed guesswork from this process via the Venous Leg Ulcer Algorithm. This evidence- and consensus-based mobile tool uses the CEAP classification system to guide clinicians through the process of selecting the appropriate compression therapy. This tool contains a wealth of information about venous leg ulcers, including a comprehensive formulary of compression therapy products. 

Peristomal Skin Assessment Guide Available this month at:

Maintaining healthy peristomal skin is vital in managing the care of individuals with ostomies. New ostomates in particular often need extra help in keeping their skin healthy. But what happens when a patient presents with peristomal skin issues and a WOC nurse is not immediately available? The treating clinician usually does not have enough ostomy care expertise to assist the patient. Hollister, Inc. recognized this need for education and in partnership with the WOCN Society and leading WOC clinicians, developed the Peristomal Skin Assessment Guide. This mobile tool prompts users to answer 4 basic questions to determine the cause of the patient’s peristomal complications. It then provides a series of interventions the bedside clinician can provide, along with patient education tips. This new tool will launch at the WOCN Society’s 49th Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, UT, May 19-23, 2017.

WOCN Mobile Guidelines Available at:

Having the right clinical information at the right time can make all the difference in patient care. The WOCN Society recently retooled its Guidelines series into a mobile-responsive website, allowing clinicians the ability to access information at the bedside. This new program includes access to the following Guidelines series of documents:

  • Guideline Management of Wounds in Patients with Lower-Extremity Arterial Disease
  • Guideline for Prevention and Management of Pressure Ulcers (Injuries)
  • Guideline for Management of Wounds in Patients with Lower-Extremity Neuropathic Disease
  • Guideline for Management of Wounds in Patients with Lower-Extremity Venous Disease
  • Management of the Patient with a Fecal Ostomy: Best Practice for Clinicians

WOCN Society Continuing Education Center (CEC) Available at:

The Society launched its brand new CEC in April. The new CEC includes continuing education courses, certification review courses, webcasts, and a library of past WOCN conference sessions. As part of the CEC launch, the Society added a new benefit for members: free access to all continuing education courses on the CEC. Visit the CEC to check out the new look and features, such as filtering by topics and information on accessing additional free CE through the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing.

Research has shown that persons dealing with wounds, ostomies, or incontinence fare far better when a qualified, informed clinician manages care. Be sure you are equipped to the fullest extent possible by availing yourself of the resources our organization has developed and provides. 

This article was not subject to the Ostomy Wound Management peer-review process.