Rural patients with diabetic foot ulcers currently face 50% higher odds of major (above-ankle) amputation and 40% higher odds of death than their urban counterparts, a health disparity identified by Dr. Meghan Brennan’s team and others. Over 70% of Wisconsin residents live in rural areas, making this a particularly important topic to address in our state.
To reduce or prevent incontinence in older women, we have designed and tested a workshop led by trained leaders to increase skills to control incontinence symptoms through lifestyle changes. “Mind Over Matter: Healthy Bowels, Healthy Bladder” has been shown to improve continence, quality of life, and self-efficacy. The program was tested in a randomized controlled trial and is now being adapted for digital delivery.
To find high-risk patients who might benefit from additional health and social services, we have developed and implemented an artificial intelligence system to identify patients in need of enhanced care coordination in partnership with one of our state’s largest health systems (UW Health). We are currently screening over 120,000 patients in Dane County each month using the system.
In the upcoming year, we will extend this system across the southern half of Wisconsin in partnership with one of the state’s largest health plans, screening an additional 166,000 patients each month.
Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness among working-age adults in Wisconsin, where there are currently over 135,000 adults with diabetes. Early screening and treatment can prevent 90% of blindness, but only half of adults with diabetes get their recommended yearly eye screening.
In response, Dr. Yao Liu created the UW Teleophthalmology Program that enables patients in rural locations to get screened by their primary care providers during regular clinic visits without having to make a second trip or appointment. The images are then sent to UW-Madison, where eye specialists read the images and send reports back to primary care for local follow-up as needed.