App helps doctors prepare for crash victims - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

App helps doctors prepare for crash victims

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Being a victim of a car crash can happen at any given time - without warning.

Every minute and every second counts.

"When you're dealing with trauma situations, time is of the essence," said Trooper Bob Conrad with Iowa State Patrol.

Time is something the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics trauma teams have more of with a recent app called TraumaHawk - potentially helping save lives.

"Doctors can look at [the pictures we send] and say 'OK, we've got a crash here, we've got an intrusion into the vehicle. We can anticipate having broken bones on the lower portion of the body,"' said Trooper Conrad.

The smartphone app was developed by researchers at the University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

TraumaHawk allows state troopers and other emergency responders on the scene of a crash to send pictures of damaged cars within seconds to emergency room physicians.

Researchers say this app give's emergency room doctors and nurses a better sense of a patient's injuries so they can have proper rooms, equipment and personnel already on standby even before ems crews send in their report.

Before the app, hospital trauma teams were warned on average about 12 minutes before a crash victim actually got to the hospital.

With the TramaHawk, in some cases it warns doctors and nurses up to 30 minutes in advance - minutes that they say could be the difference between life and death.

"Every single time I go on a crash and every time there's a fatality or i have to go knock on someone's door and tell them their loved one is not coming home, that's terrible," said Trooper Conrad.

The pictures troopers send are through a very secure email server where only researchers can see, going directly to an iPad in the hospital trauma unit.

"Our whole goal at the state patrol is not about writing tickets, it's about saving lives. And this is about saving lives." said Conrad.

Researchers say the data collected from the app also helps them learn how to prevent traffic crashes from even happening.

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