Scan Feet, Save Limbs, Save Cost, Save Lives

(Bermuda)- Your mobility as you get older is a critical factor in enjoying your quality of life. With the support of the Bermuda Health Council’s “Innovation Program – Digital Health Solutions” a new technology has been introduced to Bermuda during 2022 which aims to keep you on your feet and enjoying life.

Bermudians unfortunately have a high rate of diabetes in our adult population and one of the problems that diabetes can bring is increasing loss of feeling (neuropathy) in your feet. This means that the risk of developing serious foot problems such as Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU) is greatly increased as you often don’t notice the problem building up in time for simple non-surgical clinical interventions to be effective.

Typical DFU patients often require hospital visits with surgical amputation with far too many patients succumbing to repeated hospital visits with additional surgical interventions leading often to a significantly shortened life expectancy.

A project to assess the benefits of a new high-resolution foot-scanning technology called the Podium Professional was initiated by Dr. Kyjuan Brown, Medical Director of Northshore Medical and Aesthetics Center (NMAC) with the support of Dr. Neil Moncrieff and his team at the Bermuda Podiatry Centre. The project launched one year ago and has been scanning patients’ feet ever since.

The scans are fast and can reveal areas on the foot where hotspots or temperature differences between feet support clinical specialists in their diagnostic work. These images have also revealed where a patient was incorrectly diagnosed off-island and the clinicians were able to put this right and get the patient onto a better, more effective care pathway.

Dr Kyjuan Brown, Medical Director of Northshore Medical Center confirmed that “As we know, with the increasingly high rate of diabetes on this island as well as its complications of diabetic ulcers and amputations, early detection is key as many of these complications are reversible. I was glad that Northshore Medical Center was considered for this pilot study due to our advancement in technology and innovation in healthcare.  It speaks volumes for my staff and is a great outlook for healthcare in Bermuda overall. Our pilot study took place for 1 year, following 15 patients over this period with results showing promise as it relates to early detection and management of contributing factors. This is great news because it will save limbs and save money overall.

Dr. Neil Moncreiff, Podiatrist and owner of Bermuda Podiatry Centre also was part of the trial and had this to say to us about their success “Using the Podium Professional in clinic has meant that some of our patients have successfully avoided their condition developing to surgical intervention! Scanning feet really does save lives. ”

The results in Bermuda have joined projects at other sites in Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany and Canada. In Bermuda the results have been impressive not only in regard to supporting diagnoses and treatment pathway selection for the patients but also in helping to educate the patients as to their foot conditions with impressive pictures highlighting areas of concern inside the patients’ feet. Over time, the thermal imagery also clearly demonstrates to the patients the benefits of remaining compliant with the advice of their clinicians, a critical factor in keeping them out of hospital!

The success of the initial project can not only be measured in terms of patient satisfaction and better longer-term pain -free mobility chances but also in financial benefit to the islands’ healthcare system. Even if we only consider the small number of patients whose feet have been scanned in this initial trial, the improved treatment pathway selection has meant that some of these patients have successfully been able to avoid their problems developing to the stage that a surgical intervention was the only solution. Effectively, these cost avoidances mean that the trial paid for itself within the first 12 months of operation.

The participants are now looking to expand the trial across the island with more staff trained in the new technology and more appointment slots available.

For more information please contact:  Wayne at Podium Professional on 1(441)514-2885

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