With adequate assessment of burns scars we can improve treatment outcome by choosing the most appropriate treatment. However, due to the lack of simple and time-efficient tools for assessing scars, scars are often not well assessed and as a result the treatment plan for many scars often is just not adequate. Therefore, many burn patients remain with ugly scars.
The Patient and Observer Scar Assessment Scale (POSAS) is currently the most reliable and pragmatic assessment tool. The POSAS consists of two parts: a Patient Scale (pain, itching, colour, pliability, thickness and irregularity rated by the patient) and an Observer Scale (vascularity, pigmentation, pliability, thickness, relief and surface area rated by the health care worker). Recent discussions with stakeholders have shown that the time-consuming aspect of instructing the patient on how to complete the POSAS on paper is an important hurdle for its use in the clinical context. Improved technology offers a wonderful opportunity to digitalize the pen-and-paper POSAS, including digital (standardized) instructions for the patient and electronic registration of data.
The innovative challenge is to develop a digital POSAS app which contains the following:
The digital representation (e.g. PDA, tablet or web,) of the Patient Scale and Observer Scale replacing the pen-and-paper POSAS
The possibility of changing the language of the scale (and the tutorial): at least including Dutch, French, German and English.
A clear patient and therapist tutorial in different languages (e.g. Dutch, French, German, English) or without voice/text instructions (using pictograms, images,)
A user interface ensuring confidentiality of patient dataThis application will improve scar evaluation due to it being built on the highly recommended POSAS questionnaire as well as its options for standardized and automated data collection, data management and data export.
A consortium of
experienced researchers in the field of burns and scars (University of Antwerp),
a specialized after-care and research center for burns and scars in Flanders (Oscare)
and the developer of the POSAS (POSAS-groups’ Chairman Paul Van Zuijlen)
containing all core competences to successfully support this challenge.
Do you want to help burn patients and health care workers by making an attractive app of the existing pen-and-paper POSAS scale?
Can you integrate a clear patient and therapist tutorial in different languages (e.g. Dutch, French, German, English)?
Can you make sure as little as possible voice/text instructions are needed and as many symbols, figures or videos are used?
Creation of a user account for the app and confidentiality of data are important decision-making items. Can you program automated data collection, data management and data export assuring data confidentiality?
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