Arcos Sees Significant Strides in Burn Care with the Help of Rugged Tablets

A new solution from Houston-based medical technology provider Arcos Inc. is revolutionizing burn care and changing the way health professionals are able to assist patients.

Major burn injuries are a devastating and severe form of trauma, requiring complex, comprehensive and continuous care. A critical part of this treatment is the administration of fluids intravenously within the first 24 hours. Fluid management for burn patients requires medical staff to assess urine output and other factors on an hourly basis and adjust fluid amounts accordingly, to ensure patients are not being over or under hydrated. The approach most commonly used requires manual titration of fluid that may result in human error, potentially leading to suboptimal outcomes. For a soldier hurt on the battlefield in a remote area, providing this initial care is all the more difficult.


To overcome these challenges, Arcos has developed the Burn Navigator, which uses a Panasonic Toughbook H2 rugged handheld tablet PC equipped with custom software to provide decision support for the care of burn patients, including injured soldiers. The Burn Navigator’s software uses an advanced algorithm that learns how each patient responds to fluid therapy each hour to optimize fluid delivery. It also provides resuscitation graphs that help nurses and doctors quickly assess the patient’s status and create a tailored care plan. The Toughbook H2’s durability and lightweight design allow medical staff to efficiently provide optimal therapy in a combat situation or right at patients’ bedsides.

The results speak for themselves. A clinical study1 found that use of the Burn Navigator led to patients being removed from a ventilator up to 2.5 days sooner and a 34 percent relative decrease in patient mortality rate.

The Burn Navigator recently received airworthiness clearance from the U.S. Army, allowing it to be used in combat situations. Chris Meador, CEO and cofounder of Arcos Inc., explained that the military has been engaged in helping design the system, with the goal of developing a mobile burn support device to help care for casualties in the critical first few hours as they’re being evacuated from remote areas.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and The Army Burn Center, part of the Army Institute of Surgical Research located at San Antonio Military Medical Center are also using the Burn Navigator. The Army Burn Center is the sole Department of Defense center specializing in burn care for combat casualties, beneficiaries and civilian emergencies, and is recognized as a leader in innovative, state-of-the-art medical care for burns.

“The reason we chose Panasonic was that the Toughbooks were favored most by the nurses we spoke with — the people who would be using our devices at the bedside,” Meador said. “And we needed a platform that was rugged enough to withstand the hot, humid environment of a burn ICU.”

Arcos also is working on a second system for trauma patients, which uses a Toughbook H2 to control an infusion pump that administers blood or fluids to patients.Dr. Stephan Wexler, Chief Medical Officer at Arcos, said they are also looking at using the Burn Navigator as a system for first responders in the civilian community. “It would be especially useful in emergencies where there are multiple people with significant burn injuries, and not enough healthcare providers to help take care of them,” said Dr. Wexler. “We want to be able to help get the patients the initial care they need while following best practices, and this would really make a difference in the results.”

Healthcare customers rely on technology to assist them in providing efficient and high quality care. By developing solutions that allow medical staff to access life saving data at bedside or on the field, Panasonic is continuing to connect data with decision makers to improve outcomes for patients and caregivers alike.

To read more about the Burn Navigator, check out this TabTimes article about its deployment at the US Army Burn Center or download the full case study from

  1. J Salinas et al, Computerized decision support system improves fluid resuscitation following severe burns: An original study. Crit Care Med 2011 39(9):2031-8.