This app helps heal bad burns

Developed by a former captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps, the Mersey Burns app helps doctors drastically reduce errors when treating burn victims.

Ph.D. student Chris Seaton, who studies computer science at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, witnessed firsthand the horrors of serious burns while deployed in Afghanistan, Kenya, and elsewhere during his four years as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Mersey Burns screenshot. University of Manchester

So with the help of plastic surgeons at the University of Liverpool, Seaton developed Mersey Burns, an app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that helps reduce errors when treating burn victims.

Mersey Burns has already won an innovation award, and it is set to be featured in the January issue of the Bulletin of the Royal College of Surgeons.

"There is great possibility for creating really innovative technology by pairing up small touch-screen devices with medicine," Seaton said in a school statement. "Even simple ideas can make a big difference, and all it takes is a doctor getting together with a computer scientist to make it a reality."

The app is almost deceptively simple. On a touch-screen device, users color an area on a model to specify the location of burns, then enter basic patient details, such as age and weight. It then calculates the exact amounts of fluids the burn victim requires. The researchers found that the app reduced errors by a third typically made by pen and paper.

While Mersey Burns was designed for doctors, it can be used in a variety of circumstances, including in combat zones where soldiers without a medic can call the nearest doctor and relay the necessary info by phone.

The app is being evaluated for regulation, and no details have yet been disclosed regarding price or date of release.