Effectiveness of Telemedicine for the Management of Foot Ulcers in People With Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis

Cureus. 2022 Oct 24;14(10):e30634. doi: 10.7759/cureus.30634. eCollection 2022 Oct.


Treatment of diabetes-related foot ulcers presents great pressure on the healthcare system in terms of management strategy and allocation of resources. Telemedicine can be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers more effectively. This meta-analysis aims to evaluate the impacts of telemedicine on the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The current meta-analysis was conducted as per the reported guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) statement. Two reviewers independently searched for relevant articles using PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews from inception to 31 August 2022, assessing the impacts of telemedicine on the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. The primary outcomes assessed in the current meta-analysis included the percentage of foot ulcers healed and the time of healing foot ulcers within 12 months. Secondary outcomes included the percentage of amputation (minor and major) and all-cause mortality. A total of six studies were included in the current meta-analysis enrolling 1876 patients with diabetic foot ulcers. No difference was there between the two groups in terms of the number of patients whose ulcer healed (risk ratio (RR): 1.01, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.93-1.09), time to healing of wound within 12 months (mean difference: -0.07, 95% CI: -0.31-0.17), the incidence of amputation (RR: 0.73, 95% CI: 0.54-1.00), and all-cause mortality (RR: 0.99, 95% CI: 0.42-2.37). In conclusion, the study found that telemedicine is non-inferior to standard care in terms of reducing healing time and the number of patients with ulcer healing within 12 months. The study also found that the incidence of amputation is also lower in patients assigned to the telemedicine group compared to patients in the control group and no significant differences were reported in terms of mortality.

Keywords: diabetes; foot ulcer; meta-analysis; telemedicine; ulcer healing.

Publication types

  • Review