A Burn Intensive Care Unit wound coordinator at the ISR Burn Center, views a patient’s burn care management history using the Wound Flow electronic patient wound mapping software program. PHOTO BY STEVEN GALVAN
By Steven Galvan, Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research
03 NOV 2012
A product developed at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (ISR) at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, will be one of the new technologies presented at the annual World’s Best Technology Expo (WTB2012) in October. The WTB2012 will showcase 132 new technologies developed across the United States and Canada from top universities, laboratories, and research institutions, with the ISR being one of two Army research institutes invited to present at this year’s expo.
According to ISR’s Comprehensive Intensive Care Research task area manager, Jose Salinas, Ph.D., Wound Flow is an electronic mapping software program used at the ISR Burn Center to determine the percentage of the total body surface area (TBSA) burns and wounds on patients and is also a tool used to determine burn care management.
“Wound Flow was developed because of a need. It was designed to help to improve burn care by providing burn teams with a tool that lets them track patients’ progression in the burn intensive care unit (BICU) a lot more accurately,” said Salinas. “It also lets you upload images, which is very critical.
“Before, we used to take photos of the patient and those photos would get archived and the clinician would never see them again. With this system, as soon as you map a patient, you can take photos of the wounds and upload them with the digital map so that clinicians can see how the map of the patient is along with the images of how the injury looks.”
Wound Flow replaced the paper-and-pencil mapping diagram used by clinicians when admitting patients to the Burn Center. Oftentimes, the paper version would be placed in the patient’s chart and seldom used by the burn team or would be lost. Sarah Shingleton, a senior BICU wound coordinator, has been using the program since being introduced at the Burn Center. “I think it’s a great tool,” she said. “It has improved our burn care for our patients because we use it every day to discuss the patient’s progress, the types of dressing being used, and the areas that need special attention.”
Digital photos and bronchoscope images of the lungs and trachea can be uploaded during the mapping of the patients, and clinicians can use various color to depict the degree of the burns, amputations, and other wounds. Once the electronic diagram has been completed, Wound Flow automatically does the math to determine the TBSA. As the patient heals, the clinicians can update the diagram to track the heal rate.
“The system is very easy to use,” said Shingleton. “It’s very user-friendly and has a lot of nice features. You can learn the system in five minutes.”
The Burn Center staff has taken advantage of Wound Flow by using it as a training tool for students, new nursing staff, surgical residents, and military personnel preparing to deploy.
“It has been an incredible and useful tool for the Burn Center to be able to give clinicians a much better situational awareness of our burn patients,” Salinas said.