The aim of this study was to review apps applicable in the treatment of burns on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS smartphones, looking at costs, developers, content, target groups and available interfaces. A systematic review of the two app stores was performed over a one-month period from Feb 2014. All calculation apps underwent a trial by using a standardised patient and looked at what fluid resuscitation was calculated. This identified 32 calculator apps (13 android; 21 iOS), 26 information apps (15 android; 12 iOS), three book and journal apps (one android; three iOS) and five gaming apps (two android; three iOS). In Google’s play store, over one million apps were available, out of which 30 were found to be related to the treatment of burns. Twelve of these were free and 18 were charged, the majority costing between €1-10. Twenty-seven apps were in the English language and three in German and four were for use by people not from a medical background. Of the 13 calculation apps, eight helped to estimate the total body surface area (TBSA) and nine helped calculate fluid resuscitation requirements. Just under half a million apps were available within Apple’s app store, 39 of which were related to burns. Twelve were free and 27 were chargeable with the majority under €10. Three apps were available in languages other than English and eight were designed for non-medics. Twenty-one calculation apps were found, 19 allowing estimation of TBSA and 16 calculated the fluid resuscitation requirements. Interestingly, when inputting the data of a standardised burn patient, 19 of the calculation apps showed a correlation in calculation of the fluid resuscitation requirements using the Parkland formula, one overestimating and seven underestimating the requirements. Most of the gaming apps are designed to teach first aid procedures or impart knowledge in the form of a quiz. Three apps allowed transfer of patient specific data to hospital information systems. However, none of these apps ensured encrypted password controlled data transfer. In summary, there seems to be many apps for burns common in both app stores but with a lack of data security.

Smartphone applications in burns.
Wurzer P, Parvizi D, Lumenta D, et al.

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Zeeshan Sheikh

NHS Lothian, UK

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