Leg ulcers are an important cost factor in health care systems. It has been shown that a telemedical wound care consultation can improve quality of care and help reduce costs. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of telemedical wound care using a new generation of mobile telephones with integrated cameras.
Three physicians separately evaluated 61 leg ulcers for the following 9 variables: epithelialization, fibrin, necrosis, and granulation tissue at the center and normal border, erythema, cyanosis, eczema, and hyperpigmentation at the periphery. One physician performed the face-to-face consultation (gold standard), and 2 others performed the remote evaluation. The image was obtained with the mobile telephone and immediately sent via e-mail. To measure the agreement of the evaluation among the 3 physicians, we used Cohen κ statistics. Overall, the agreement between the remote and face-to-face evaluations was very good, with κ values of up to 0.94 The image quality was judged to be good in 36 cases (59%) and very good in 12 (20%). The participants felt comfortable making a diagnosis based on the pictures in 50 cases (82%).
Although this study was performed with the first generation of these devices, we were able to demonstrate the feasibility of such a telemedical wound care consultation.