The wound care industry is embarking on the new year with renewed hope and focus amid a new year of health insurance deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, and difficult choices for many patients — that is, paying for health care versus paying for food and housing. In the United States, health care spending consumes 17.9% of the gross domestic product and is expected to reach almost 20% by 2029.1 Combine that with the significant changes we see within the health care system, such as the move to fee-for-value, patient empowerment, care delivered by alternative providers, and how and where care is being provided, and we have a challenging problem on our hands, a problem that may be difficult or impossible to solve because it has innumerable causes, incomplete or contradictory requirements, is difficult to describe, and has no right answer.2
Wound care teeters on the leading edge of this problem. In 2000, when the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services transitioned the treatment of nonhealing wounds to the outpatient setting, the agency created what has become a complex, disjointed system of wound centers and home health services struggling to bring consistency and best practices to all patients. In the US, 6.5 million people suffer from chronic wounds and more than $25 billion is spent on treatment. As the population ages and the incidence of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes grows, the number of chronic wounds will continue to rise.3 Twice as many Americans die annually from chronic wound complications as from traffic accidents.4,5 Something needs to change to improve outcomes for these patients.
The role of the wound care industry is to step in and think differently about these challenges and change the trajectory of care with a goal to partner with clinicians to enable and evolve care by helping remove the complexity of treatment and by simplifying the delivery of care. Further, the industry aims to support and foster the evolution in health care by providing innovative solutions and comprehensive approaches to patient care and wound management that deliver outcomes, value, patient satisfaction, and efficiency.
When the Medical Solutions Division of 3M (St. Paul, Minnesota) was formed in 2018, we embarked on a journey to shift our focus from products to solutions that deliver outcomes and value and refocus our efforts around 2 value pillars: preventing complications and stewarding skin. Through these pillars and our roles as partners, educators, and innovators, we believe we can achieve advances in wound care. The recent acquisition of KCI (KCI, an Acelity Company, San Antonio, Texas) helps strengthen both pillars and accelerates our ability to deliver more comprehensive wound care solutions.
In 2020, as we bring the portfolio and expertise of KCI into the 3M Health Care family, we are united by purpose to improve outcomes, restore quality of life, and change what’s possible. United we will:
1. Evolve the quality, efficacy, and economics of care to help improve the patient experience, prevent complications, transform outcomes, and deliver true value into the health care system;
2. Develop innovative solutions, technologies, and experiences that simplify care and set standards for practice, while exceeding patient and caregiver expectations on pain and clinical effectiveness;
3. Ensure continuity across care settings by providing solutions that address the uniqueness of each setting, enable consistency as patients progress through their care journey, and empower patients to take a broader role in their care; and
4. Improve access around the world to healing technologies through our large geographic footprint, industry-leading capabilities, and care-setting appropriate portfolios.
This is just the beginning. As one company, with a relentless focus on zero complications and skin stewardship, along with patient-centered science that creates differentiated, efficacious solutions, we will improve outcomes and health care value. Together, as partners with the wound care community, we are tackling challenges with creativity, curiosity, and empathy to make a difference for patients and health systems around the world and to fulfill our mutual promise to help improve patient outcomes.
For more information on how 3M will redefine wound care, visit 3M.com/KCI. Visit our blog, TransformingOutcomes.3M.com, as we explore where health care is headed.