Tech for Good New App Helping to Detect Brain Injury
Here at the Trust we are always interested to hear about developments in technology which lead to better lives for many. We wanted to share the most recent high profile project with you, and commend the local team who have played a key role in making it happen.
Earlier this week a new app which could save the lives of those with brain injuries was launched at Stormont, with the support of Health Minister Jim Wells. Each year more than 2,000 people in Northern Ireland alone sustain a brain injury, while many more live with the long term effects.
As part of last year’s Action for Brain Injury Week, the Acquired Brain Injury Working Group– a partnership forum comprising of representatives from the Cedar Foundation, Child Brain Injury Trust, Headway UK and Reconnect, supported by the Health and Social Care Board and Public Health Agency, designed and launched a ‘Know the RISKS’ information card regarding mild brain injury.
Innovation and Collaboration
By teaming up with local tech firm TotalMobile the group have been able to make this information as widely accessible as possible.
This internationally renowned company is no stranger to providing innovative software solutions to revolutionise the way frontline healthcare staff work so it was a natural fit for them to work with experts from the health and voluntary sector to come up with the initial idea for the ‘Know the RISKS’ app.
The concept came about as a result of a 12 hour hack which launched the Code for Better Campaign.
The 12-hour hack event, organised as part of Action for Brain Injury Week and led by staff from TotalMobile, saw ‘hackers’ come together to develop a resource to help anyone in need, quickly showing them what the signs and symptoms of minor brain injury are, while also providing them with a breakdown of emergency facilities in their area.
12 Hour Hack
The event took place last May at TotalMobile at Pilot Point in Belfast from 9am to 9pm. Though the 12 hours didn’t see the app completed in full, TotalMobile’s development team worked on the app after the event as an aside to their work.
Code for Better is an initiative strategy that brings people with great ideas and those with a passion for coding together to collaborate on solutions that can help solve the problems facing the Health sector.
TotalMobile has since held a 24hr Hack in Crumlin Road jail and intends on holding a spring hack this year which will take place in the Ulster Museum over 24hrs on April 25th-26th.
The ‘Know the RISKS’ app is now available to download for free and you can find the links at the end of this article. The resource is intended to help anyone in need, quickly listing the signs and symptoms of mild brain injury and clearly outlining the actions needed to respond to them to result in the best outcomes for the injured person.
The app is available for iOS, windows and android devices and it is planned that it will shortly include a location based feature outlining the nearest emergency services in the case of serious brain injury.
Gareth Tolerton, Chief Technical Officer of TotalMobile, said: “With 7 in 10 people in the UK owning a smart phone there was a clear opportunity to create a simple app where the public can easily access information.
“Action for Brain Injury is a great cause and we are pleased to be able to use our skills in the mobile technology sector to help the organisation create this resource which we hope will make a real difference to those who suffer brain injuries.
"Improving the provision of support and care for healthcare needs innovative thinking and novel solutions and the app is a really positive example of what can be achieved when businesses work closely with the voluntary, community and public sectors".
Angela Thompson, Executive Director of Reconnect, said: ‘Most people with a mild brain injury recover fully, but it can take time. Some symptoms can last for days, weeks, or longer.
“However, as it is an evolving injury, symptoms may take time to manifest so it is vital that people are as well informed as possible about signs, symptoms and when to seek further medical attention.
"The ‘Know the RISKS’ app means that this information can now reach the widest possible audience with the potential to help save someone’s life".
Speaking at the launch Health Minister Jim Wells said: “Brain injury can have a devastating and lifelong impact on a person and their friends and family.
Broken bones mend, scars heal and illnesses can be cured, but brain injury can remain with a person for life. It has an impact on everything they do, and while for some this might be just a small impact, for others it can change the way they live their lives dramatically.
“This innovative application will undoubtedly help people who have suffered a brain injury by not only signposting them towards taking appropriate action but by keeping them up-to-date with the latest information and resources available.
“I would like to commend those who contributed to the development of this impressive piece of work which has the potential to help save lives".