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The process of implementing a rural VA wound care program for diabetic foot ulcer patients.
Reiber GE, Raugi GJ, Rowberg D. The process of implementing a rural VA wound care program for diabetic foot ulcer patients. Ostomy/wound management. 2007 Oct 1; 53(10):60-6.
Delivering and documenting evidence-based treatment to all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) foot ulcer patients has wide appeal. However, primary and secondary care medical centers where 52% of these patients receive care are at a disadvantage given the frequent absence of trained specialists to manage diabetic foot ulcers. A retrospective review of diabetic foot ulcer patient records and a provider survey were conducted to document the foot ulcer problem and to assess practitioner needs. Results showed of the 125 persons with foot ulcers identified through administrative data, only, 21% of diabetic foot patients were correctly coded. Chronic Care and Microsystem models were used to prepare a tailored intervention in a VA primary care medical center. The site Principal Investigators, a multidisciplinary site wound care team, and study investigators jointly implemented a diabetic foot ulcer program. Intervention components include wound care team education and training, standardized good wound care practices based on strong scientific evidence, and a wound care template embedded in the electronic medical record to facilitate data collection, clinical decision making, patient ordering, and coding. A strategy for delivering offloading pressure devices, regular case management support, and 24/7 emergency assistance also was developed. It took 9 months to implement the model. Patients were enrolled and followed for 1 year. Process and outcome evaluations are on-going.