Updated Jan, 25th 2013
Developing this app will involve learning how to display a custom image, respond to a localized touch on that image, use predefined controls, use the iPhone GPS, use mapping functions, and contact a server for updates. In my opinion, these are the core things to learn for any location aware app. But this app will save lives.
About 45,000 people a year are hospitalized for burns. 25,000 of those admitted to hospitals end up in one of about 125 specialized burn centers.
The first few hours of burn treatment are critical, and deciding if a person needs treatment at a specialized burn center can make a big difference in their eventual recovery.
The purpose of technology is to help us with things that require excessive memorization or that change quickly. This app will help the health care provider with things that are hard to remember and reference.
I would like to create an app that:
1) Provides an easy interface to estimate the size of a burn injury in adults and children. Estimating burn size is notoriously inaccurate. Burn size should be estimated using a Lund-Browder chart. I think burn estimations are inaccurate because nobody carries around a Lund-Browder chart in their back pocket. For the app, we would display a picture of the Lund-Browder chart and the app user would click on an area to mark it burned.
2) Provides a quick reference to estimating burn degree. This is just a reminder section for the person who is staring at a badly burned patient.
3) Calculate the fluid composition used to resucitate a burn victim. This is a formula that is hard for people to remember, but is perfect to hand off to a computer. Once again, why should the provider remember the Parkland formula when the iPhone can do it for them.
There are several apps that already do steps 1, 2, and 3 (uBurn, Burncase). But remember, specialized burn centers have much better results than general care hospitals for the severely burned person. Here is where the iPhone can really help: rather than remembering where to find the closest burn center, the iPhone can do it for us using information from Ameriburn.com
4) After the information about the size and degree of a burn has been entered, check the guidelines to see if the burn victim should be transferred to a specialized burn center.
5) If the burn victim should be transferred to a burn center, use the iPhone GPS feature to locate the closest burn centers, and offer contact phone numbers for the staff at the listed burn centers.
6) Ask the app to update burn center contact information from a server on a regular basis, so that as contact information changes at burn centers, the app will be able to provide this information to the user.
More general information on burns (Warning - graphic pictures of burned people): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC449823/
The AmeriBurn website lists the burn center transfer guidelines ( http://www.ameriburn.org/BurnCenterReferralCriteria.pdf ) along with contact information for verified burn centers: http://www.ameriburn.org/BCRDPublic.pdf