Remote Care of Lower Extremities Ulcers: An Observational Pilot Study

Gamus A, Kaufman H, Chodick G

Isr. Med. Assoc. J. 2019 Apr;21(4):265-268

PMID: 31032569

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Lower extremities ulcers (LEU) are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. With longer life expectancy, the prevalence of LEU in developed countries is assumed to grow, necessitating an increased demand for treatment by specialists.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the effectiveness of a telemedicine video conferencing modality with the conventional face-to-face treatment of LEU.

METHODS: The study was conducted in conjunction with a two-million member healthcare organization in Israel (Maccabi Healthcare Services). Consecutive visits of patients to wound care specialists during a 12-month observation period reviewed in 2015 were valuated. A nurse-assisted setting was implemented during all treatment sessions. The same specialist supervised patients in both modalities.

RESULTS: A sample of 111 patients (n=55 in the telemedicine group; n=56 in the face-to-face group) with 593 visits was analyzed. No significant difference in healing of LEU (78.2% in telemedicine vs. 75.0% in face-to-face) was detected, P = 0.823. A reduced number of visits in telemedicine (4.36 ± 2.36) compared to the face-to-face care (6.32 ± 4.17) was shown, P = 0.003. Non-inferiority of telemedicine demonstrated within the Δ = 15% range limits and 80% statistical power was demonstrated.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared to the usual face-to-face method, synchronous video conferencing-based telemedicine may be a feasible and efficient method for LEU management.