Telemedical home-monitoring of diabetic foot disease using photographic foot imaging - a feasibility study
We assessed the feasibility of using a photographic foot imaging device (PFID) as a tele-monitoring tool in the home environment of patients with diabetes who were at high risk of ulceration. Images of the plantar foot were taken three times a week over a period of four months in the home of 22 high-risk patients. The images were remotely assessed by a diabetic foot specialist. At the end of the study, 12% of images were missing, mainly due to modem or server failures (66%), or non-adherence (11%). All three referrals for diagnosed ulcers and 31 of 32 referrals for abundant callus resulted in treatment. Health-related quality of life (EQ-5D visual analogue scale), increased from 7.5 at baseline to 7.9 at end of follow-up, but not significantly. Mean scores on a visual analogue scale for different usability domains (independence, ease of use, technical aspects and value) ranged from seven to nine. The study demonstrates the feasibility of using the PFID for the early diagnosis of foot disease, which may prevent complications in high-risk patients with diabetes.