In the past three years, the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken up numerous aspects of our lives, not the least of which being our healthcare system. In many ways, the pandemic tested the limits of our hospitals and challenged us to find new solutions with the modern technologies available to us. One Savannah-based company answering this challenge is Corstrata, a virtual wound and ostomy healthcare provider.
Corstrata was founded in 2015 to solve a simple problem: quality wound and ostomy care has major barriers to accessibility. “Wounds are not a medical specialty and they’re not a disease, but they are huge drivers of cost, pain and suffering,” says Corstrata co-founder and CEO Katherine Piette on a Zoom call Thursday afternoon. While there are 8.2 million people suffering from chronic wounds (mostly pressure ulcers, or bedsores) in the country, there are only 10,000 certified WOC (wound, ostomy and continence) nurses. 90% of these nurses operate only within hospitals or clinics, meaning huge numbers of people are unable to access quality wound care.
Corstrata’s solution is simple: they virtually connect patients with their team of certified WOC nurses to provide both asynchronous image-based and live video-based wound care to patients across the country. Through their platform, patients can be connected to quality care from the comfort of their home, “because that’s where patients recover the best, recover the fastest, and that’s where patients want to be,” says Piette.
Before the pandemic, this approach offered a novel, leading edge solution, and now it’s become part of a larger push for telehealth options. In fact, many of Corstrata’s nurses experienced the overcrowding and stress of hospitals during the pandemic firsthand, and now are eager to be able to reach patients remotely: not only a safer, but a more efficient route for wound care, as technology allows them to treat far more patients and follow up over time to monitor healing.
In June 2023, Corstrata announced the next exciting phase of their growth. They’ve formed a cross-referral partnership with Swift Medical, a Toronto-based wound imaging company that uses leading imaging technology to measure and analyze wounds using phone and tablet cameras. Their software tracks not only wound size, but also analyzes the different tissue stages that comprise the wound, empowering nurses to give accurate and effective diagnoses and treatments. “Their photos enhance our ability to watch those wounds over time and manage them effectively,” Piette explains.
This partnership will improve Corstrata’s services as well as provide opportunities for growth. Corstrata has nurses licensed in all 50 states, as telehealth laws require healthcare providers to be in the same state as the patient at the time of care, and has provided treatment in 47 states and counting. Despite the trend of staffing issues in the medical field, Corstrata also has an extensive waiting list for nurses looking to join them. Working with Corstrata allows nurses to work from home, cutting commutes and providing more time with family. It also allows them to treat more wounds than they could otherwise. Whether nurses are young mothers, just looking to supplement their income, or otherwise, “This is an attractive model,” says Piette. “Everyone wants to do this.”
Despite being a virtual company, Corstrata also strives to create a tight-knit company culture. Piette says the key is frequent video communication in the form of group meetings and one-on-one check-ins. But it’s not strictly business. “It can be a little isolating working from home,” says Piette, “but our core group is our work family – we know everyone’s children, we even do virtual happy hours.” Through overt communication, Corstrata is able to uphold a welcoming work environment despite the challenges of remote work.
Corstrata is a leading edge Savannah-based company using forward thinking strategies to circumvent barriers to access in WOC healthcare. To learn more about Corstrata, you can visit their website here. To learn more about their new partner company Swift Medical, you can visit their website here.