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Digital foot ulcer device rolled out in Derbyshire

By Editor
3rd November 2016
Care planning, Commissioning East Midlands Footcare Good practice Latest news Medical devices

A digital ulcer imaging system is being rolled out in Derbyshire so care can be delivered closer to people’s homes.

The initiative, which is using the Silhouette®, ARANZ Medical, accurately assesses foot ulcers at the point of care.

This is helping to reduce outpatient appointments at The Royal Derby Hospital.

The system has been launched by the Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, working in partnership with Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Trust.

This new approach means foot ulcer healing is monitored digitally and the information is shared remotely in real-time with healthcare professionals to support patient care.

It is possible that the tool will facilitate early action where wound healing slows down, and that such early interventions, including the treatment of infection could potentially reduce amputations.

Silhouette® is being rolled out with support from the East Midlands Academic Health Science Network (EMAHSN) and means assessments and treatments can be provided in the community rather than a hospital setting.

Unhealed ulcers

This is the first time a digital tool like this has been used in the East Midlands to support people with Diabetes and EMAHSN hope to roll it out in other locations if it is successful.

Diabetic Foot Disease costs NHS England over £600M per annum (Diabetes UK 2012).

In the Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) the annual major amputation rate is 1.1 per 1,000 people with diabetes and the majority of amputations are preceded by unhealed ulcers.

Therefore, it is vital that all people with diabetic foot ulcers receive regular treatment and check-ups.

Currently the majority take place in hospital outpatient clinics, placing a severe strain on this service and requiring patients to travel substantial distances for their appointments.

EMAHSN is working with Entec Health, the UK distributor for ARANZ Medical’s Silhouette® system and commissioned the tool following an EMAHSN Innovation Exchange Event which specifically sought to solve challenges local NHS providers and commissioners had around diabetes and the care of patients living with the condition.

The new system is improving staff and patient experience and is expected to improve capacity in secondary care from the reduction in outpatient follow up appointments.

Professor Fran Game, consultant diabetologist from the Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This innovative service means patients can be seen and monitored much closer to home, outside of the often busy hospital environment. This is better for the patients and is also easing the pressure on our foot clinic at the hospital.

“We are very happy to be collaborating with EMAHSN, the community health team in Derbyshire and Entec Health in order to put this technology into practice.”

So far the new service has seen over 40 people in the community and feedback has been very positive.

David Hawkins, a patient from Ripley said: “Being able to have my check-ups at my local clinic is great.  I have less distance to travel and it makes getting to appointments much easier.

“The process of being scanned using Silhouette® is also quick and I can see how my ulcer is progressing at each appointment.  I like the fact that this technology means I can get seen on my doorstep.”

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