Innovative New App Changing Lives Of Burns Patients
World renowned burns specialist Fiona Wood has helped create a new mobile phone app to connect burns patients with the nation's top specialists.
Wood treated some of the most gravely injured victims of the 2002 Bali terrorist bombings, and drew inspiration from the Indonesian experience.
"I saw people doing extraordinary things for each other there around burns first aid, around early care," she said.
Wood enlisted the help of the CSIRO to design the new app, which allows doctors and nurses to upload photos of a patient's burns.
They are then sent to a specialist's smart phone or tablet to be assessed, with immediate advice given on the best treatment options.
Wood insists giving the correct information at the earliest opportunity, can be life changing for patients.
"Intervention from the point of injury influences what kind of scar they'll have for life."
In its final trial phase, the app is already helping patients like Perth engineering student Ben Sainsbury.
The 17-year-old paraplegic received third degree burns to his leg from a leaf blower.
He has since undergone surgery for a skin graft at Fiona Stanley Hospital.
The app will save him from having to come back to the hospital to have his wound checked, something that's all the more difficult in a wheelchair.
"I can take photos, send them in and they can give me a reply," Sainsbury said.
"It means I don't have to drive here and wait, it's really good."
It's taken a team of designers 18 months to get right, with the biggest hurdle protecting patient confidentiality.
The CSIRO's Director of Medical Research Yogi Kanagasingan insists artificial intelligence is changing the future of medical treatment.
He believes because the quality of phone cameras is now so advanced, the app could be used for a range of other medical conditions down the track.
"There's applications for dermatology, wounds, plastics and also one of the main areas we have been working in is opthamology, so you can take the photo of the eyes." said Kanagasingan.
An Australian first design, Wood believes the application is just the beginning to using technology to better treat patients.
"To be able to put information in the hands of people, I think, is fundamental to a sustainable health service in the future."
Featured Image: 10 News First