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The Mersey Burns App: evolving a model of validation

J. Barnes, A. Duffy, N. Hamnett, J. McPhail, C. Seaton, K. Shokrollahi, M. I. James, P. McArthur, and R. Pritchard-Jones


ntroduction ‘Mersey Burns App’ is a smartphone/tablet application that aids in the assessment of total burn surface area (TBSA) and calculation of fluid resuscitation protocols in burns. This paper presents two studies assessing the speed and accuracy of calculations using Mersey Burns (App) in comparison with a Lund and Browder chart (paper) when a burn is assessed by medical students and clinicians. Methods The first study compared the speed and accuracy of TBSA and resuscitation calculation for a photograph of a burn with App and paper using burns and plastics and emergency medicine trainees and consultants. Developing on some of the feedback and results of that study, a second study was then carried out using burns-naive medical students assessing a fully simulated burn with both modalities. Preference and ease of use of each modality were assessed anonymously. Results The clinician study showed a lower variance in TBSA and fluid calculations using the App (p<0.05). The student study showed no difference in mean TBSA estimations (p=0.7). Mean time to completion of calculations was faster and calculations were more likely to be correct with the App (p<0.001). Students favoured the App in the following categories: preference in emergency setting, confidence in output, accuracy, speed, ease of calculation, overall use and shading (p<0.0001). Conclusions Mersey Burns App can facilitate quicker and more accurate calculations than Lund and Browder charts. Students also preferred the App. This suggests a useful role for the App in the care of patients with burns by inexperienced staff.