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Wound Repair Regen. 2009 Sep-Oct;17(5):657-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-475X.2009.00527.x.

Preliminary development of a diabetic foot ulcer database from a wound electronic medical record: a tool to decrease limb amputations.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of Wound Healing and Regenerative Medicine, Helen & Martin Kimmel Wound Center, New York University School of Medicine, 301 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003, USA.

Abstract

Our objective was to create a practical standardized database of clinically relevant variables in the care of patients with diabetes and foot ulcers. Numerical clinical variables such as age, baseline laboratory values, and wound area were extracted from the wound electronic medical record (WEMR). A coding system was developed to translate narrative data, culture, and pathology reports into discrete, quantifiable variables. Using data extracted from the WEMR, a diabetic foot ulcer-specific database incorporated the following tables: (1) demographics, medical history, and baseline laboratory values; (2) vascular testing data; (3) radiology data; (4) wound characteristics; and (5) wound debridement data including pathology, culture results, and amputation data. The database contains variables that can be easily exported for analysis. Amputation was studied in 146 patients who had at least two visits (e.g., two entries in the database). Analysis revealed that 19 (13%) patients underwent 32 amputations (nine major and 23 minor) in 23 limbs. There was a decreased risk of amputation, 0.87 (0.78, 1.00), using a proportional hazards model, associated with an increased number of visits and entries in the WEMR. Further analysis revealed no significant difference in age, gender, HbA1c%, cholesterol, white blood cell count, or prealbumin at baseline, whereas hemoglobin and albumin were significantly lower in the amputee group (p<0.05) than the nonamputee group. Fifty-nine percent of amputees had histological osteomyelitis based on operating room biopsy vs. 45% of nonamputees. In conclusion, tracking patients with a WEMR is a tool that could potentially increase patient safety and quality of care, allowing clinicians to more easily identify a nonhealing wound and intervene. This report describes a method of capturing data relevant to clinical care of a patient with a diabetic foot ulcer, and may enable clinicians to adapt such a system to their own patient population.

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