Harnessing digital health technologies to remotely manage diabetic foot syndrome: A narrative review

Bijan Najafi, Ramkinker Mishra

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

About 422 million people worldwide have diabetes and approximately one-third of them have a major risk factor for diabetic foot ulcers, including poor sensation in their feet from peripheral neuropathy and/or poor perfusion to their feet from peripheral artery disease. The current healthcare ecosystem, which is centered on the treatment of established foot disease, often fails to adequately control key reversible risk factors to prevent diabetic foot ulcers leading to unacceptable high foot disease amputation rate, 40% recurrence of ulcers rate in the first year, and high hospital admissions. Thus, the latest diabetic foot ulcer guidelines emphasize that a paradigm shift in research priority from siloed hospital treatments to innovative integrated community prevention is now critical to address the high diabetic foot ulcer burden. The widespread uptake and acceptance of wearable and digital health technologies provide a means to timely monitor major risk factors associated with diabetic foot ulcer, empower patients in self-care, and effectively deliver the remote monitoring and multi-disciplinary prevention needed for those at-risk people and address the health care access disadvantage that people living in remote areas. This narrative review paper summarizes some of the latest innovations in three specific areas, including technologies supporting triaging high-risk patients, technologies supporting care in place, and technologies empowering self-care. While many of these technologies are still in infancy, we anticipate that in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic and current unmet needs to decentralize care for people with foot disease, we will see a new wave of innovations in the area of digital health, smart wearables, telehealth technologies, and “hospital-at-home” care delivery model. These technologies will be quickly adopted at scale to improve remote management of diabetic foot ulcers, smartly triaging those who need to be seen in outpatient or inpatient clinics, and supporting acute or subacute care at home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number377
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Volume57
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Keywords

  • Amputation
  • Care in place
  • Diabetic foot
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Digital health
  • Foot disease
  • Remote patient monitoring
  • Telehealth
  • Ulcer
  • Wearable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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