This great work from our SALSAmigos at University of Michigan. In short: implementation of Podiatry in a University Health System cut amputation rates in half, doubled preventative surgical procedures and shifted care from inpatient to outpatient.
Diabetes foot complications remain very prevalent in US and worldwide, and a major risk for devastating amputations. We evaluated the impact of establishing a fully integrated and specialized Podiatry service into a large tertiary academic health system to implement structured and targeted preventative foot care on limb salvage rates.
Cross-sectional cohorts’ data mining analysis of all encounters for diabetes and any foot complications between 2000-2005 and 2010-2015, preceding and after full implementation of podiatry service, respectively. The primary outcome was the change in major non-traumatic lower extremity amputations. Secondary outcomes included minor non-traumatic lower extremity amputations, other diabetic foot complications, limb salvage procedures as documented by procedural coding, and location (outpatient, inpatient, ED) of service rendered.
We analyzed 100 million patient encounters that met above criteria. Compared with the initial cohort, integration of specialized podiatry services resulted in significant decrease in the number of major amputations from 127 to 85/year (p<0.05), and halved the amputations rate from 0.004% to 0.002% (p<0.05). Rates of minor lower extremity amputations remained unchanged (p>0.10), while rates of preventative procedures including foot ulcer debridement doubled (0.0002% to 0.0004% ; p<0.03). Diagnoses of diabetic foot complications increased significantly (p<0.05) and shifted toward the outpatient setting Interpretation: Full integration of specialized Podiatry service led to a significant decrease in major amputation rates, supporting team work between podiatry and diabetes health-care providers is essential to performing timely diabetic foot complications management, preventative procedures leading to limb salvage, and a shift in care location.