Expert Outpatient Burn Care in the Home Through Mobile Health Technology

J Burn Care Res. 2018 Aug 17;39(5):680-684. doi: 10.1093/jbcr/iry013.


Access to care for pediatric burns remsains a major public health problem in the United States. Telemedicine has an opportunity to improve access to care, but current models are expensive and inefficient. They have developed and pilot-tested the TeleBurn App, a novel smartphone application, to treat partial thickness burns while outpatient. The app allows the provision of expert clinical burn care directly in the patient's home through text and image messaging, video conferencing, and instructional videos. They retrospectively reviewed clinical outcomes and usability in pediatric partial thickness burn patients treated using the TeleBurn App compared with standard therapy alone. Standard therapy is considered to be face-to-face delivery of care. Burn wound care was provided to 32 patients via the app and 35 patients with standard therapy. Most (74%) patients offered the app, used it as their primary source of follow-up care. This group had no wound infections or unexpected returns to clinic or hospital. Both TeleBurn App and standard therapy groups had similar burn severity, age, and burn mechanism. Mean healing time was shorter in the app group (mean ± standard deviation: 11.6 ± 4.7 days versus standard therapy: 14.3 ± 5.4 [P = .03]) with fewer clinical encounters (0.93 ± 0.6 vs standard therapy: 3.3 ± 1.0 [P = .001]). Adherence with completion of therapy in patients using the app was 80 vs 64 per cent with standard therapy. They describe a functional, scalable mobile health application in clinical use in a pediatric burn program. Further prospective, randomized studies may validate this mobile health platform, improving access to expert burn care for a vulnerable population.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Biomedical Technology*
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Telemedicine*
  • Text Messaging
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Videoconferencing
  • Wound Healing