The Burn Navigator

Award Year 

The need for a decision support system that would allow non-expert clinicians to administer high-level burn resuscitation protocols in the field or at a hospital drove the development of the Burn Navigator. This computer-assisted system was developed by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC)/U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research (USAISR) in collaboration with the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). The technology was transferred via interinstitutional agreement between USAISR and UTMB and via patent license from UTMB to its commercial partner, Arcos, Inc. (more)

The mission of the USAISR Burn Center is to serve as the “sole facility caring for combat burn casualties, beneficiaries and civilian emergencies within the Department of Defense.” State-of-the-art scientific care is coupled with combat casualty care research focused on improving battlefield care for the combat wounded. The Burn Navigator addresses the need for improved battlefield care superbly, especially during the first critical 24-48 hours of care after a traumatic burn injury. The software was first developed for use on a computer and then transitioned to a mobile tablet; it is now available as a cloud-based version and for use with a smartphone.  Arcos, the company commercializing the technology, is currently working on a Burn Navigator app to be used on any smart device.

Burn Navigator collects expert burn clinicians’ knowledge and experience, and uses several algorithms to recommend the best course of action based on the real-life experience. The Burn Navigator can prevent both burn shock syndrome and compartment syndrome, resulting in better overall outcomes and fewer burn injury deaths. It is equally applicable in prolonged field care and in hospitals and burn units.  Some of the foremost burn centers in the country, together with USAISR and the Blocker Burn Unit at UTMB, are part of a two-year study to determine how the Burn Navigator affects outcomes for 300 patients.

The Burn Navigator is currently used throughout the Army’s deployed units and in 12 percent of U.S. civilian burn centers. The technology underlying the Burn Navigator was awarded seven patents between 2010 and 2016. It received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance in 2013, and is currently being distributed to Army medical field units. It has been field-tested at USAISR and is now the standard of care there.

The Burn Navigator is the only product of its kind, thus providing a unique capability. It is the only device that synthesizes the collective knowledge of burn experts into a tool that can help medical staff anywhere, at any time, to provide the highest level of care.

Contact: Dr. Leopoldo Cancio, (210) 916-0990,