People with diabetes are at increased risk of foot ulcers due to peripheral nerve and circulation problems which, if left untreated, can lead to infection, gangrene and subsequent amputation. Management by a multidisciplinary diabetes foot team has been shown to reduce amputation rates. However, access to specialist treatment can be affected by remoteness from clinics and by pressure on services as a result of the increasing prevalence of diabetes. RAPID is a pilot study involving the use of novel technologies to remotely assess patients with diabetes presenting with a new, non-healing or deteriorating foot ulcer. Omni-HubTM, the innovative technology designed for use in the project, is a portable hub capable of optimising priorities for Wi-Fi, multiple cellular networks, satellite and ADSL routes. It enables a face-to-face consultation by the community podiatrist to be enhanced by virtual consultation with members of the multidisciplinary foot team, including specialist diabetes podiatrists and a diabetes consultant. This should contribute to improved care, potentially reducing amputation rates, improving quality of life, and having a health economic impact through prevention of diabetic foot complications, hospital admissions and amputations as well as travel time for patients. Practitioner experience will be recorded and individual patient experience will be captured through a short questionnaire or telephone survey. The intention is to evaluate what works where, for whom and when, compared with standard practice and results will be used to inform a plan for a wider study utilising the technology in integrated practice by podiatry teams throughout the Highland region.
This abstract was presented at the Innovative Solutions in Remote Healthcare - 'Rethinking Remote' conference, 23-24 May 2016, Inverness, Scotland.