Meta-analysis has revealed similar outcomes in reducing foot ulcer healing times when telemedicine is used, compared to standard care.
Six studies were included in the meta-analysis, involving 1,876 patients with diabetes and foot ulcers. Reviewers searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for articles assessing the impacts of telemedicine on the treatment of these ulcers.
The research team looked at the percentage of foot ulcers healed and the time of healing foot ulcers within 12 months. They also looked at the percentage of amputation – minor and major – and all-cause mortality.
They reported: “No difference was there between the two groups in terms of the number of patients whose ulcer healed (risk ratio (RR): 1.01, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.93-1.09), time to healing of wound within 12 months (mean difference: -0.07, 95% CI: -0.31-0.17), the incidence of amputation (RR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.54-1.00), and all-cause mortality (RR: 0.99, 95% CI: 0.42-2.37).”
The meta-analysis led researchers to conclude that telemedicine is non-inferior to standard care in terms of reducing healing time and the number of people with ulcer healing within 12 months.
They also found that the incidence of amputation is lower in those assigned to the telemedicine group compared to patients in the control group, while no significant differences were seen in terms of mortality.
The meta-analysis was conducted by a team of researchers from Allama Iqbal Medical College, Service Institute of Medical Sciences and Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation in Pakistan, and Spartan Health Sciences University in St Lucia, among others.