A review of smartphone applications in burns care

Dr Nicholas Tang1

1Royal Melbourne Hospital, Mount Waverley, Australia


Background:  The prevalence and continued growth of the smartphone has led to it becoming an indispensable pillar in societal functioning in this 21st century. The rapid improvements in smartphone technology has led to its increasing integration into medical practice as not only a communication device, but as an adjunct to medical care. A recent survey reported up to 87% of physicians employ the use of a smartphone or similar device in their workplace[1]. While many smartphone applications directed burns have been developed[2], the validity and evidence for their use in clinical practise is less clear. The aim of this study is to review the literature for clinical studies assessing the use and validity of smartphones and their applications in the burns management.

Methods: A systematic search of the PubMed, Medline and google scholar databases was performed from the date of their inception through to now using search terms with MeSH ‘Application’, ‘Apps’, ‘App’, ‘Smartphone’ and ‘Burns’.

Discussion: The literature search yielded 11 publications for inclusion in the final review, with 7 of these articles focussing on describing development and implementation of burn assessment applications and with the other 4 focussing on applications developed to improve the telehealth process. Of the applications described, 3 were developed for TBSA assessment, 3 were developed as tools for fluid calculation for burns resuscitation and 1 application to be used in conjunction with a mobile device attachment. All articles evaluated these applications as a clinically valid adjunct to current standards of care in burns.

Conclusion: While there is an abundance of applications available for use by both healthcare professionals and non-medical individuals, there is limited number that have undergone appropriate and rigorous testing. Further research is required to assess their accuracy in ongoing clinical use.

  1. Chase, J., IPads and other drugs. Medical Marketing & Media: The interactive Guide 2013: p. 10 – 11
  2. Wurzer, P., et al., Smartphone applications in burns. Burns, 2015. 41(5): p. 977-89.


Nick is currently a surgical doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital

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