Prevalence and incidence assessment of chronic wounds in Austria 

There are currently no scientifically valid figures on the prevalence and incidence of chronic wounds in Austria, including the associated diagnoses, geographical distribution or demographic factors. Health planning therefore lacks any basis for making evidence-based decisions. Our study closes this crucial knowledge gap and examines the care of patients with chronic wounds under routine conditions.

Chronic wounds cause a major loss of health-related quality of life. In addition to the great physical and psychological strain on those affected, non-healing wounds also pose economic and organizational challenges to our healthcare system. In order to address these in a targeted and evidence-based manner, numbers are needed on the frequency of chronic wounds and the distribution of the causal diagnoses in the population. These numbers are currently missing. Only vague statements can be made based on international comparisons. 

A prevalence estimate serves as a knowledge base for health planning and as a basis for a health economic assessment of the problem. The aim of the study by Kathrin Morasek, led by Raffael Himmelsbach and Tanja Stamm, is to estimate the prevalence and incidence of chronic wounds in Austria, broken down by age group, gender and federal states. A population-based, retrospective analysis of real-world data will be conducted. In order to be able to identify patients with chronic wounds in the existing databases, we proceed in two phases, starting with the analysis of the patient files from an outpatient wound clinic. 

The results are then used in a second phase to derive characteristics that can be used to identify patients with chronic wounds from social insurance data. This allows us to break down prevalence and incidence rates for chronic wounds across Austria according to diagnoses, different age groups, gender and regions. Through the partnership with the Institute of Outcomes Research at the Medical University of Vienna, we receive support from their in-depth expertise in the data science area. 

a. Data on prevalence and incidence of chronic wounds enable health policy makers to make evidence-based decisions.