And how Net Health Wound Care can streamline ordering for busy clinicians
Patients with lymphedema have long been among the most troublesome for wound care clinicians to treat. Phlebo lymphatic disease is defined as lymphatic overload that is initiated from venous hypertension. This is a complex lymphatic condition that is often underdiagnosed. Patients often have multiple underlying medical conditions and social determinants of health (SDOH) factors that further exacerbate treatment.
Technologies such as Intermittent Pneumatic Compression (IPC) are making a difference in treatment and outcomes.1 A growing body of peer-reviewed studies now offer confirmation of the benefits of such treatment for a wide range of lymphedema-related conditions2, encouraging wound care providers to expand IACT utilization.
However, the challenge clinicians face is putting the latest findings into practical use. In a recent webinar, Randall Russell, MD, medical director of the Main Line Health Wound Care and Lymphedema Center, outlined the causes, implications and studies3 highlighting the value of IPC in outpatient settings. Following his presentation, members of the Net Health Wound Care team outlined how the company’s online ordering system for wound care products, Connections, could make the documentation and ordering of compression technology a little easier.
IPC Emerging as Promising Treatment for Lymphedema
According to Dr. Russell, IPC is a modality primarily used at home or in wound care centers. The system consists of a computerized controller – the setting is determined by patient needs – and a sleeve or garment that consists of cells or chambers. Together they provide cyclical gradient intermittent compression that helps to decompress lymphatic channels in the venous system.4
The goals of IPC are to reduce swelling, limit inflammation, prevent skin ulceration – minimize infection, optimize function, reduce the need for hospitalization and improve patient quality of life.
IPC is generally used in treating lymphedema with or without ulceration or with chronic venous insufficiency that hasn’t healed with other modalities. Additionally, there are several contraindications for IPC, including uncontrolled coronary heart disease, deep vein thrombosis, and malignant conditions in the extremities.4
Use of Wound Care EMR Key
Traditional treatments such as encouraging patients to elevate their legs, wearing compression stockings and attempting mild exercise programs (i.e., foot flexors or walking) are often not enough to treat lymphedema. However, for lymphedema patients to qualify for IPC compression, it must be demonstrated in the medical record that previously outlined conservative measures have been adhered to for 28 days without significant improvement. Proper diagnosis of secondary lymphatic abnormalities (I89.0) needs to be documented and the medical record must also indicate the continued presence of edema despite adherence to the suggested treatment regimens.4
The use of a specialty wound care electronic medical record (EMR) system plays a vital role in providing the documentation necessary to validate the need and secure authorization for IPC. Once the patient has been deemed a candidate for the treatment, the next step is to order the IPC therapy.
Hospitals and clinics using Net Health Wound Care, formerly WoundExpert, can submit orders electronically through Connections, the company’s proprietary online ordering system. Because the documentation criteria for the use of IPC is already being captured in the system, the process to submit an order form is streamlined. Busy clinicians don’t have to complete the form manually. Connections electronically prepopulates the request with patient and insurance as well as home health, provider, and other required information. Clinicians can then submit the order form directly to their vendor of choice and track the status through delivery to the patient or clinic.
Intermittent Pneumatic Compression Can Help Providers Improve Patient Outcomes
IPC is a promising technology that can benefit many patients. Clinicians that combine their knowledge of the therapy with easy ordering through Net Health Wound Care can ensure that more patients can readily access this technology that can significantly improve outcomes and patient quality of life.
Ready to learn more about IPC and ordering through Connections? For more information, visit the Net Health Wound Care website link at https://www.nethealth.com/solutions/wound-care/.
The webinar from Dr. Russell can be viewed here.
1Aldrich MB, Gross D, Morror JR, Fife CE, Rasmussen JC. Effect of pneumatic compression therapy on lymph movement in lymphedema-affected extremities, as assessed by near-infrared fluorescence lymphatic imaging. J Innov Opt Health Sci. Vol. 10, No. 2 (2016).
2Urbanek T, Jusko M, Kuczmik W. Compression therapy for led oedema in patients with heart failure. ESC Heart Failure. July 25, 2020.
3The use of a Peripheral Calibrated Gradient Compression Pump for the Treatment of Chronic Venous Leg Ulcers. Patel M, Pesek E, Lantis JC II. Presented at Symposium on Advanced Wound Care, Spring, May 2019, San Antonio TX USA.
4Net Health Webinar. New Evidence on the Benefits of Active Compression for Wound Management. May 13, 2021.
Content reviewed by Dr. Randall Russell.