University of Iowa College of Public Health alumni Dr. Chris Buresh, Ms. Denise Szecsei, and Dr. Kari Harland, along with professor of occupational and environmental health Dr. Corrine Peek-Asa, were part of a team of UI researchers that created a mobile app that quickly relays information from the scene of auto accidents to trauma centers.
With the click of just a few buttons on a smartphone, the app, called TraumaHawk, enables state troopers to share photos and information from a crash scene with trauma doctors long before a patient arrives in the emergency room.
Thirty-five Iowa State Troopers are testing an early prototype, and those involved say the app is already improving communication between trauma doctors and first responders — doubling the amount of time doctors have to prepare.
“Prior to this, state troopers didn’t really have much of a role in patient care,” says Dr. Buresh, an emergency medicine physician at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. “But with this app, law enforcement and emergency medical technicians are talking to each other and helping doctors back in the emergency room understand what happened at the scene, how the patient sustained injuries, and what injuries we have to be especially vigilant for.”
UI researchers say the app is a first step toward improving outcomes for car crashes, which kill roughly 33,000 people in the U.S. each year.