Electronic medical records specifically for wounds could substantially cut amputation rates for diabetes patients with foot ulcers, a study recently presented at the American College of Surgeons 96th Annual Clinical Congress determined.
Records pulled from an online wound EMR (OWEMR) system set up at by Dr. Jason Maggi at New York University Langone Medical Center's Department of Surgery over a six-month span showed that there were up to 137 variables for each record, reports Medscape Medical News. Automated alerts sent out to all doctors involved with a particular patient's care help doctors to sort through that information and integrate quantitative measures like healing rates in real time, according to Maggi, the study's senior author.
"Effective management of this information and analysis of data in a timely fashion can mean the difference between limb salvage and amputation," Maggi said, according to Medscape.
The OWEMR combined information like medications, medical history and lab results with digital photos of patient progress to help doctors "centralize information" onto a single page.
Dr. Danielle Katz, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at SUNY Upstate Medical University who moderated Maggi's presentation, hailed the study as potentially being "the future of medicine."
Said Katz, "I think more and more there will be a push to have applicable practice guidelines [and] methods for tracking outcomes, and I think this really demonstrates a very potentially useful tool."