Exploring Diabetic Foot Exam Performance in a Specialty Clinic

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Abstract

Detection of diabetic foot complications is key to amputation prevention. This study used survey and retrospective record review to examine the relationship between frequency and performance of clinician’s diabetic foot examinations on performance of patient home self-foot examinations. An additional aim was to assess clinician performance of annual foot examination per American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines in a specialty clinic. The relationships between demographic characteristics, diabetic foot ulcer beliefs, health literacy, HbA1c level, and foot self-exam performance was also examined. No relationship was found between the performance frequency of foot examinations by providers and patient self-examination (N = 88). The presence of specific barriers to self-management was significantly higher in those patients who did not complete daily home self-foot examinations. Only 16% of patients’ charts reviewed met the ADA criteria for a complete annual foot exam. Motivational interviewing during patient visits could be a strategy to break down barriers to self-foot exam performance. Furthermore, the development of an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)–based diabetic foot exam template to improve provider documentation may improve compliance with ADA recommendations.

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