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Managing concussions with just a few clicks

Providing care to patients suffering from a concussion or any other type of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) can be challenging, especially in hospital emergency departments, where everything happens very quickly. But a new mobile application that gives medical professionals all the information they need right at their fingertips could make things easier.

10 to 15% of MTBI patients continued to experience chronic effects in the months following their injury.

The idea for the app came about when Elaine de Guise, neuropsychologist, researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and professor at Université de Montréal, discovered that 10 to 15% of MTBI patients continued to experience chronic effects in the months following their injury and that few had received a definite diagnosis or information on recovery.

When she spoke with emergency room staff, she realized that care teams did not always have the most recent facts and recommendations on concussions and head injuries on hand. Indeed, in the past decade, extensive research has been carried out on MTBIs, and it can be difficult to keep up to date on the significant body of scientific literature. A survey conducted in hospitals confirmed that emergency physicians and their colleagues are lacking credible and accessible sources of data.

Elaine de Guise initially turned to the Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux (INESSS) and Neurotrauma Foundation (Ontario) for the most recent publications on MTBIs. She then consulted with some 30 experts to target recommendations that would be applicable in Québec.

In partnership with a private company, the researcher and her team then developed a free mobile application for iOS and Android. In just a few minutes, emergency care professionals can now find information on MTBI diagnosis in adults and children, symptoms, risk factors, assessment tools, possible complications and steps to help patients resume their daily activities and sports. The bilingual tool also provides a list of clinics that specialize in MTBIs for referrals.

The first version has been available for download since spring 2019. The app will officially launch this fall, but centres in Québec, Ontario and the United States are already using it.