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New Project Applies Digital Health Tools to Curb Amputations

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   June 09, 2023

The "Saving Limbs, Saving Lives" campaign aims to give healthcare providers access to a digital health platform that offers care management resources and a virtual connection to specialists.

A new national campaign aims to reduce the number of leg amputations in the US by giving healthcare providers access to digital health tools aimed at improving care management.

The "Saving Limbs, Saving Lives" (SL2) project, unveiled at the recent New Cardiovascular Horizons (NCVH) annual conference, targets the estimated 150,000 annual lower extremity amputations, according to the National Institutes of Health. The effort to give members of the American Podiatric Medical Association access to a digital health platform developed by CarePICS that includes wound care management guidelines and best practices and virtual access to specialists.

With studies estimated that as much as 60% of lower extremity amputations could have been prevented, the project takes aim at four critical care gaps in the wound treatment process: imprecise assessment and measurement using manual tools; inadequate and inconsistent documentation; inefficient follow-up care and communication; and fragmented care coordination between initial care providers and vascular specialists.

"When we look broadly at the medical histories of patients who have undergone lower extremity amputations, the evidence reveals that only about half have ever had a vascular evaluation or were referred to a vascular specialist," Timothy Yates, MD, of Florida-based Palm Vascular Centers, said in a press release issued by CarePICS. "Their condition simply progressed to a stage where the limb could not be salvaged. This is exactly the scenario SL2 is helping avoid. Using the CarePICS app, podiatrists can quickly and easily request an electronic consult with a vascular specialist, then convert it to an electronic referral when it's indicated that the patient needs a vascular evaluation."

The campaign is part of a three-phased approach, and will run through June 2024. Organizers will evaluate the results and then determine whether to make it permanent.

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, and Pharma for HealthLeaders.


Roughly 150,000 lower extremity amputations are performed in the US each year, and studies suggest 60% of them could have been prevented.

Care gaps in the wound treatment process include lack of coordinated and follow-up care, inefficient wound measurement and monitoring, and fragmented care coordination between providers and specialists.

A year-long program aimed at reducing amputations will give care providers access to a digital health platform that includes care management resources and a virtual link to specialists for consults.

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