Posted by Mhealth360 Admin on 12/04/10
Last week we talked to Dr. Howard Umansky DPM, founder of the Diabetes Rural Outreach Project (DROP), a telemedicine program designed to remotely monitor diabetes patients in rural areas. All with the goal of eliminating amputations. Here’s a transcript of our conversation.
Dr. Umansky: DROP is a privately funded program designed to identify, monitor and treat diabetes patients in rural areas who are at risk for gangrene and lower extremity amputation. The program grew as an adjunct to a mobile service I started 25 years ago to provide doctors to homebound patients in underserved areas.
Specifically, it started when one of our bed-bound patients with a decubitus ulcer on her heel was referred to the emergency room by a visiting nurse. We had managed to close the ulcer twice but it had reopened and was infected. She was transported to the hospital by ambulance and her leg was amputated. She was 29 years old at the time. I have no doubt that the ulcer would have been treated successfully but we weren’t able to monitor her closely enough. DROP started very shortly after that to insure that there wouldn’t be another case like that one. Many of our patients were 80 miles or more from the closest doctor or service area and I felt we needed better communication and more frequent monitoring. We had a large diabetic population to contend with so we had to create a better system.