Saving Lives Through Education: There's a Johns Hopkins App for That
A newly released mobile app designed to educate medical students, physicians and health care workers around the globe on how to care for burn victims is one of a fast-growing number of medical apps being developed at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
After witnessing the devastation caused by two catastrophic fires during a medical mission to Kenya, Johns Hopkins Burn Center Director Stephen Milner was inspired to seek an effective way to teach others the steps needed to stabilize a victim in the first eight hours following a burn—a period critical for survival.
Milner’s vision reached fruition when he collaborated with Harry Goldberg, director of academic computing at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Milner and Goldberg recently released the Burn Medical Education app, or BurnMed, which uses a combination of pictures, video and text to illustrate how to handle burn victims. By highlighting burned areas on a rotatable three-dimensional figure of a man, woman or child on an iPad or iPhone, the user can quickly calculate how much fluid to administer. A more advanced version of the software teaches step-by-step instructions for other interventions, such as an escharotomy, a surgical procedure that some burn victims require to relieve pressure and restore bloodflow.
“This app is designed so the user can understand the underlying procedures used to treat a burn victim within a few minutes,” Goldberg says. “In a textbook, one could read several chapters and they still may not understand these procedures due to the educational limits of using text.”
Like Milner and Goldberg, many faculty members, students and staff from across Johns Hopkins Medicine are developing medical applications as a part of the Johns Hopkins Global mHealth Initiative. Projects range from training health workers caring for individuals with HIV and AIDS in Uganda to offering screening and support for victims of domestic violence in East Baltimore.
The Global mHealth Initiative is headed by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Assistant Professor Alain Labrique, who was recently recognized as one of the top mHealth Innovators of 2011 for a program he developed that links community health workers with pregnant women and new mothers in rural Bangladesh via a mobile phone health information system. Labrique, among others, teaches a course offered by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health for students who have an interest in mobile medicine.
“By sharing our knowledge with the world in new and innovative ways, Johns Hopkins is trailblazing the field of mHealth,” says Montserrat Capdevila, director of sales, marketing and international relations for the Johns Hopkins University Tech Transfer Office, which is helping inventors to produce apps.
The following Johns Hopkins apps are currently available in the iTunes store or the Android Market.
· Johns Hopkins BurnMed (Pro and lite versions)
· Johns Hopkins eMOCHA TB DETECT (English and Spanish versions)
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