May 24, 2013 | by

The Location of Cardiac Arrests Near You and Yelp’s Public Health Foray

Health 2.0 NewsThere was a lot of humility on stage when members of government organizations presented this week at the Healthy Communities Data Summit (HCDS) in San Francisco: “We could never pull this off on our own.” “We move at snail’s pace.” “We are poor.”

Like its cousin event Health Datapalooza, taking place in Washington, D.C. next month, HCDS’ purpose is to rally different groups around open data. Last year at Datapalooza, the government showcased applications and tools built with the data it had released. It called on private organizations to follow suit and to release their own data. And its strongest call was to anyone and everyone able to make useful things with that data. The message was to keep trying.

Government organizations in the Bay Area, and all local governments for that matter, have a big advantage over the federal government when making the same call to action. On their side is the fact that local developers are motivated to work on projects that can have a direct and observable impact on the place they call home.

Take the technology executive turned fire chief of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District in California. He was having lunch one day when he heard sirens nearby. They continued to get closer and closer. It wasn’t until the fire chief left the restaurant that he realized an emergency team was responding to a man who had gone into cardiac arrest next door. Had he known, he could have reached the man and started administering CPR long before EMS arrived.

Bradley Kreit, co-director of the Health Horizons Program at the Institute for the Future, told this story at HCDS. He went on to explain that the fire chief reacted by developing his own app for those very situations. First responders and people trained in CPR can now download the PulsePoint app, which alerts them in real time to cardiac arrest incidents nearby.

“First responder classes were so popular, they were booked out for two or three months in advance in San Ramon because people all of a sudden felt they could put the skill of learning first response to use,” Kreit said.

Read the full post by Laura Montini on Health 2.0 News.