Exploring the pathways of diabetes foot complications treatment and investigating experiences from frontline health care professionals: protocol for a mixed methods study

Elisavet Andrikopoulou, Panagiotis Chatzistergos*, Nachiappan Chockalingam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Diabetes affects more than 4.3 million individuals in the United Kingdom, with 19% to 34% developing diabetes-related foot ulceration (DFU) during their lifespan, which can lead to an amputation. In the United Kingdom, every week, approximately 169 people have an amputation due to diabetes. Preventing first-ever ulcers is the most effective strategy to reduce the occurrence of diabetes-related amputations, but research in this space is lacking.

Objective: This protocol seeks to document the experiences and perspectives of frontline health care professionals who work with people who have diabetes and diabetes-related foot problems. Special attention is given to their perceptions of barriers to effective care, their views about barriers to effective and inclusive engagement with people with diabetes, and their experience with the first-ever DFU. Another aspect of the study is the focus on whether clinical management is affected by data sharing, data availability, and interoperability issues.

Methods: This is a mixed methods explanatory protocol, which is sequential, and its purpose is to use the qualitative data to explain the initial quantitative data collected through a survey of frontline health care professionals. Data analysis of quantitative data will be completed first and then synthesized with the qualitative data analysis. Qualitative data will be analyzed using the framework method. This study will use joint displays to integrate the data. Ethical approval has been granted by the ethics committee of Staffordshire University.

Results: The quantitative data collection started in March 2023 and will close in May 2024. The qualitative interviews commenced in November 2023 with volunteer participants who initially completed the survey.

Conclusions: This study’s survey focuses on data interoperability and the interviews focus more on the perspectives and experiences of clinicians and their perceived barriers for the effective management of diabetes foot ulcers. Including a geographically relevant and diverse cohort of health care professionals that spans a wide range of roles and care settings involved in diabetes-related foot care is very important for the successful application of this protocol. Special care is given to advertise and promote participation as widely as possible. The qualitative part of this protocol is also limited to 30-40 interview participants, as it is not realistic to interview higher numbers, due to time and resource constraints.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere54852
Number of pages9
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2024


  • diabetic foot
  • first-ever foot ulcer
  • qualitative
  • qualitative evaluation
  • Survey
  • acute care
  • primary care
  • community care
  • interviews
  • barriers
  • education
  • exploration
  • quality of life

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