Telemedicine in wound care

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Abstract

Telemedical wound care is one of the applications of teledermatology. We present our experience using telemedicine in the successful assessment and treatment of three patients with hard-to-heal ulcers. Three patients were seen at the PEMEX General Hospital in Veracruz, Mexico. The first patient was a 53-year-old man with hypertension, morbid obesity, chronic venous insufficiency, recurrent erysipelas, leg ulcers and lymphoedema. There was one ulcer on his left lower leg (20 × 10 cm) and one on his right leg (9 × 7 cm). The second patient was a 73-year-old woman with class III obesity and ulcers in her right leg, secondary to surgical debridement of bullous erysipelas. The third patient was a 51-year-old female with rheumatoid arthritis with one ulcer on each leg and chronic lymphostasis. Photographs with a digital camera were taken and sent weekly via email to a wound care specialist in Mexico City. The photographs allowed the expert to diagnose and evaluate the chronic wounds periodically. In the present cases, telemedicine allowed us to have a rapid evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. The images were of enough quality to be useful and small enough to be sent via regular email to the remote physician who immediately gave his feedback. The expert was confident to give therapeutic recommendations in this way, and we considered this method to be very cost-effective, saving the patient and the health care system, especially in transportation.

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