First-ever “episode of care” data shows the true toll of Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Study @USC @KeckMedUSC

This from our collective team at USC / University of Michigan / University of Arizona and Podimetrics

  • We validated a model to identify diabetic foot ulcer episodes in Medicare data.
  • With this model, we compared morbidity and mortality rates during and after episodes.
  • All-cause mortality was 1.5 times more likely during diabetic foot ulcer episodes.
  • All-cause hospitalization was 2.8 times more likely during diabetic foot ulcer episodes.

Aims
Our primary objective was to determine whether all-cause rates of mortality and resource utilization were higher during periods of diabetic foot ulceration. In support of this objective, a secondary objective was to develop and validate an episode-of-care model for diabetic foot ulceration.
Methods
We evaluated data from the Medicare Limited Data Set between 2013 and 2019. We defined episodes-of-care by clustering diabetic foot ulcer related claims such that the longest time interval between consecutive claims in any cluster did not exceed a duration which was adjusted to match two aspects of foot ulcer episodes that are well-established in the literature: healing rate at 12 weeks, and reulceration rate following healing. We compared rates of outcomes during periods of ulceration to rates immediately following healing to estimate incidence ratios.
Results
The episode-of-care model had a minimum mean relative error of 4.2% in the two validation criteria using a clustering duration of seven weeks. Compared to periods after healing, all-cause inpatient admissions were 2.8 times more likely during foot ulcer episodes and death was 1.5 times more likely.
Conclusions
A newly-validated episode-of-care model for diabetic foot ulcers suggests an underappreciated association between foot ulcer episodes and all-cause resource utilization and mortality.

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