DROP rural telemedicine diabetes monitoring (US)

From the Mobile Health 360 blog: an interview with Dr. Howard Umansky, DPM, on DROP–Diabetes Rural Outreach Program–on their innovative telemedicine program which connects over 1,000 acute diabetes patients living in the rural southeast US via video to DROP program clinical staff. The goal of the program is to prevent amputations due to skin ulcers developing into gangrene. Patients–some located 80+ miles from physician care–with internet access were provided with a web cam–those with standard phones received a videophone. Up to 70% of diabetics experience neuropathy (loss of sensation in extremities); by contrast, there have been no amputations among participants in the program since its start in 2005. Reimbursement (nil at this point) and cost savings (up to $1 million by avoiding amputation) are also discussed. The promise of telemedicine.