1.2 A randomised controlled trial is recommended to address uncertainties about the clinical benefits of using the scanner compared with standard risk assessment. This should assess:
using the scanner plus visual skin assessment compared with visual skin assessment alone for identifying pressure ulcer risk
whether changes in clinical decision making from using the scanner reduce pressure ulcer incidence
the clinical benefits and resource impact of using the scanner in different care settings
the clinical benefits for different skin tones
how well the scanner works across populations with a range of comorbidities
patient-related outcome measures.
Why the committee made these recommendations
Inflammation occurs when tissue is damaged. Increased moisture under the skin is thought to reflect inflammation and may mean an increased risk of pressure ulcer formation. SEM Scanner 200 is a device that measures differences in moisture under the skin of the heels and the area around the base of the spine (sacrum). Using SEM Scanner 200 could mean that measures to prevent pressure ulcers can be taken before visible or tactile signs of tissue damage develop.
SEM Scanner 200 is used with standard care in studies looking at its effect on pressure ulcer incidence. This makes it difficult to distinguish between the effect of SEM Scanner 200 alone and that of increased awareness of preventing pressure ulcers. Also, standard care is poorly described in the studies. More evidence is needed on how using SEM Scanner 200 affects clinical decision making and whether this benefits patients.