Amy Schatz,

August 24, 2014 | by

Life Saving Crowdsourcing App Expands Reach To Stop Cardiac Arrests

Recode LogoOff-duty firefighter Scott Brawner was working out in a suburban Portland gym this spring, listening to Pandora, when suddenly the music stopped.

An app on his phone warned him that someone nearby needed CPR. Brawner reportedly raced around the gym, trying to find the victim before heading to the parking lot, where he saw a man sprawled on the pavement. He began giving the man CPR until fire and rescue units showed up.

The man’s survival wasn’t just a blessing for his family, it was a huge victory for the PulsePoint Foundation, a Bay Area non-profit whose app is making it easier to alert CPR-trained people that someone nearby needs help.

Crowdsourcing has been used for everything from political campaigns to potato salad, but PulsePoint’s app represents the first time it has been used on a wide-scale to help save dying people in cardiac arrest. Victims have very little time – generally ten minutes or under – to receive CPR before they either lose brain functions or die.

PulsePoint’s free app connects to local 911 call centers and alerts users when there is someone nearby in need of CPR. PulsePoint users get an alert the same time as local emergency responders.

It also shows the location of the closest automatic defibrillator (if there is one nearby) as well as a reminder about how to do CPR, just in case the user has an adrenaline-induced brain-freeze. A related PulsePoint app is trying to get people to crowdsource the locations of automatic defibrillators so volunteers will know where to find them.

“As a fire chief I was always focused on response times. Trying to get help to people faster,” said Richard Price, a former San Ramon Valley Fire Department chief, who is the force behind the app and the non-profit foundation that oversees it. Crowdsourcing volunteer CPR-trained volunteers “is a very efficient, low-cost way of making an impact.”

Price came up with the idea for the app five years ago after a disturbing incident one day while eating a sandwich.

He was at a local deli when he heard sirens, Price remembers. Emergency vehicles pulled up and he rushed outside to see what was going on. A man in a shop next door had collapsed and emergency responders were unable to revive him.

“He was on the other side of the wall, I couldn’t see him,” Price says. “He lay there unconscious with no one doing CPR. I had a (automated defibrillator) nearby in my vehicle.”

Although the iPhone had been introduced a few years before, apps that took advantage of location-based information were only starting to be developed.

“It just struck me that we could have off-duty professionals – police, firefighters, nurses and all the CPR trained citizens – who had to be in the exact right place at the right time,” he said. “We have these phones now. Could we use someone’s phone to determine their locations…give them the same capabilities as first responders?”

Price’s fire department had little money to spend on the project. He says he talked to developers around the Bay Area but couldn’t find anyone who would help them for the right price. He eventually connected with a computer science program at Northern Kentucky University, which required students to develop a working app as a graduation requirement.

A group of students created a working prototype “at almost no cost,” Price says. They tested the app in the San Ramon area and eventually found support from PeopleSoft co-founder David Duffield, whose enterprise cloud applications company WorkDay, volunteered to take over. The company still volunteers engineering time to develop and maintain the technology.

The PulsePoint Foundation was created in 2011, which holds all of the intellectual property for the app, as well as funding from WorkDay and other groups to help expand the app’s reach. The foundation also partnered with Physio-Control, a medical device developer specializing in automated defibrillators, to market the app technology.

Los Angeles County began using the system earlier this month, joining about 700 local communities in 20 states which have connected the technology to their 911 call centers. Another 200 communities are in the process of adding the service, Price says, which generally costs about $5,000 a year.

View the full story by Amy Schatz at Re/code.

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Drew in Wheelchair

June 4, 2014 | by

Heart Attack Rescue? There’s an App for That

A new smartphone app that aims to turn ordinary bystanders into heart attack heroes did just that last month, saving the life of a 57-year-old truck driver from Portland, Oregon, who had collapsed outside a gym.

Drew Basse is the first high-profile rescue attributed to PulsePoint, a free mobile app that alerts users when someone is in cardiac arrest nearby.

“Without people like Scott Brawner, I wouldn’t have had a second chance,” said Basse, referring to the off-duty local firefighter who answered the PulsePoint ping.

Basse, a father of two and grandfather to four, is recovering in a Portland rehabilitation center after the May 9 incident that Brawner said was the highlight of his 34-year career.

“I can’t believe that it worked,” said Brawner, 52, of Tualatin, Oregon. “It was just awesome. It still gives me chills.”

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Created on a shoestring budget by Richard Price, a former San Ramon, California, fire chief who didn’t want to miss an emergency call, PulsePoint has gained slow traction since 2009, rolling out to 911 dispatch centers that now cover some 600 U.S. cities.

“We’ve found that people are very willing to put their hand up and say, ‘I’ll help,’” said Price. More than 140,000 people have signed up for PulsePoint so far and more than 7,300 have responded to nearly 2,300 alerts.

Every year in the U.S. there are about 360,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, or about 1,000 a day. Experts who research the problem say PulsePoint may be one way to boost the ranks of those who can perform bystander CPR, which doubles or triples the chances of surviving.

“It’s a great use of technology to enlist the aid of people who are willing and able to help save lives from cardiac arrest,” said Dr. Michael Sayre, an emergency medicine doctor with the University of Washington in Seattle and an leader in resuscitation medicine.

In Basse’s case, he was saved by Brawner, who happened to be working out at the same gym. Brawner’s fire district signed up for PulsePoint about a year ago.

But even he wasn’t expecting the alert that showed up on his phone as he walked on the treadmill, telling him that someone needed CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, right away. He saw a map, an icon of where he was, an icon showing the closet AED or automated external defibrillator — and an icon showing a victim. He quickly ran down two flights of stairs.

“I saw a security guard standing in the parking structure and it just didn’t look right to me,” Brawner said. “That’s where Drew Basse was. He was literally sitting in his car, unconscious, not breathing, no pulse.”

In fact, Brawner thought he looked like a “fresh code,” firefighter slang for someone who is already dead.

Brawner pulled Basse out of his car and started performing CPR. Within minutes, emergency crews arrived and took over, but the time that Brawner kept Basse’s blood pumping was crucial, doctors said.

That’s just what PulsePoint founder Price, 52, had in mind. He was a veteran of 32 years as a firefighter and fire chief, focused on improving bystander CPR and rapid response.

He was at lunch one day when he heard sirens and saw a fire truck pull right up to the business next door. “I wasn’t even aware of it,” he said. “I was actually in uniform. I had an AED in my car. We just weren’t plugged into those types of calls.”

Using technical skill gleaned from years of operating dispatch centers, Price worked with engineering interns from Northern Kentucky University to develop the app. Now, it’s updated and maintained by the firm Workday, which provides technical services for free.

View the full story by JoNel Aleccia at NBC News.

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January 15, 2014 | by

Pulsepoint app makes its way to Cleveland

Nick DiCiccoBEDFORD, Ohio – A new emergency dispatch center in Bedford will go online with a life-saving app for smart phone users later this month. PulsePoint, an app that allows CPR–trained individuals to be alerted through their phone’s GPS system if they are within a quarter of a mile on an emergency needing CPR help.

Watch News Clip (ABC News5 Cleveland)

“It will show you all of the EMS calls. It leaves out the street numbers, (for privacy purposes) it will only show you the street name, but if it’s a business name it will tell you the Hampton Inn, or The Home Depot and you can over there and it will also show you where the closest A.E.D. is where you can go over and grab it for public use and deliver a defibrillation shock if needed,” said Nick DiCicco, Lieutenant for the Orange Police Department.

Columbus has been using the Pulsepoint app with success for over a year. Survival rates have gone up everywhere it has been implemented, according to University Hospital’s Director of EMS Training and Disaster Preparedness, Dan Ellenberger.

“Anything we can do to hedge the bet to get great basic life-saving support to that patient faster, they’re going to live,” said Ellenberger.

Ellenberger and DiCicco are expecting its ten community service area to reap the app’s rewards almost right away.

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January 15, 2014 | by

University Hospitals, East Side suburbs use PulsePoint app to enlist CPR-trained people to help first responders

The PulsePoint app lets any CPR-trained user know when there is an emergency within a quarter mile, and also provides the location of the nearest defibrillator. The app is coordinated with emergency dispatch centers and aims to get CPR to victims of cardiac arrest as quickly as possible, saving valuable minutes in an emergency.

CVD App ImageCLEVELAND, Ohio– If someone collapses in a public place and needs CPR, University Hospitals and an East Side 9-1-1 dispatch center are now using an app called PulsePoint to let ordinary citizens know about it, hoping that people with CPR training who are close at hand will step in until emergency workers arrive.

PulsePoint is a free app launched in 2009 after San Ramon Valley Fire Chief Richard Price watched his own fire department’s trucks arrive to a medical emergency at a store next to the deli where he was eating lunch. A man at the store had collapsed and needed CPR, but because it was a medical emergency, Price didn’t know about it.

“If it had been a big fire, they would have called me,” Price said. “But these calls happen all the time. Had I known, I probably could have made a difference, because I had a defibrillator in my car.” Fortunately, the man survived.

Price worked with engineering students at Northern Kentucky University to develop the app, and 500 cities in 16 states are now using it.

The PulsePoint system is incorporated into the 9-1-1 protocol: in an emergency in which a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest in a public place, app users within a quarter-mile will receive a notification of the event and also see where the nearest automated external defibrillator (AED) is located. An AED is a portable device that checks the heart rhythm and can deliver an electric shock to restore a normal rhythm if necessary.

Daniel Ellenberger, director of the EMS training & Disaster Preparedness Institute at UH, brought the technology to Northeast Ohio after seeing it demonstrated at a conference last year. Columbus-area emergency dispatchers began using the notification system over the summer.

“I thought this would be a great fit for us with our mission,” Ellenberger said. “Before anyone is going to survive an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, they have to have great CPR. We have to train people, but part of that is being notified that they’re needed.”

Read the full article by Brie Zeltner at The Plain Dealer.

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January 30, 2013 | by

‘PulsePoint’ app, which helps people get lifesaving CPR, coming to Los Angeles

LAFD LogoSmartphones, already used to alert us of such pressing matters as sports scores and new Facebook posts, could soon help save lives in L.A.

The Los Angeles Fire Department will soon begin using an application called PulsePoint, which sends messages to people’s cellphones when someone is having a cardiac emergency nearby.

The hope is that people trained in CPR will install the app, see the alerts and be able to start life-saving treatment before paramedics arrive.

Sometimes, after they see an ambulance pull up, bystanders wish they had known someone needed help, said Capt. Tom Gikas, who works in the Fire Department’s Planning Section.

“How many people on a given evening in a local restaurant know CPR?” Gikas wondered.

That’s exactly the question that led to PulsePoint.

Read the full article by Eric Hartley, at the Daily News.

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August 6, 2012 | by

Emergency app can save lives locally

Erlanger MapImagine: It’s Saturday, a man and woman are shopping at Home Depot in Crescent Springs, and suddenly the man clutches his chest and falls to the floor.

Someone calls 911. Meanwhile, a nurse grocery shopping at Remke’s a few stores away gets an alert on her phone. She rushes to Home Depot and performs CPR on the man.

That’s what Erlanger Police officials say could happen with a recently launched app for iphones and Android phones the Erlanger’s Public Safety Communications Center .

The app, called PulsePoint, alerts users to the need for CPR within a half-mile radius. The app will also tell users if there’s an Automated External Defibrillator nearby.

Read the rest of this article by Brenna R. Kelly at Cincinnati.com.

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January 18, 2012 | by

Citizen Superheroes Now Equipped with Android Devices

Lifesaving app now available in the Android Market

Android Screen ImagePLEASANTON, CA – The PulsePoint Foundation is proud to announce the release of the Android version of its life‐saving mobile app that crowd‐sources Good Samaritans to events where the potential need for bystander CPR is high. The iPhone version of the app was released in January 2011 by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. The PulsePoint Foundation is the new nonprofit organization taking the reins from the Fire District to guide, enhance and expand the reach of the app worldwide.

“We are very pleased to be extending the reach of the application to Android devices and users,” said Richard Price, President of the PulsePoint Foundation and Fire Chief for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. “With nearly 1,000 deaths a day directly attributed to Sudden Cardiac Arrest, the time for this app is now.”

The foundation turned to Workday, Inc. (www.workday.com) to encourage its employees to volunteer to design and build the Android version along with a multijurisdictional, multi‐client infrastructure that could handle the worldwide interest in the app. The app was developed solely by volunteers from Workday’s development team. “Workday believes strongly in the mission of the foundation and is pleased that several of its employees donated their own time to lend a hand in this important initiative to improve the outcomes for victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest,” said Petros Dermetzis, Vice President of Development at Workday. “We are very proud and appreciative of the Workday employees who raised their hands to help others with this project.”

The PulsePoint app (previously the FireDepartment app) is now available at no cost in the Android Market. Android users can now simply visit the Market and search for “PulsePoint” to download the app, (the PulsePoint App requires the Android operating system of 2.2 or greater). Once the app is loaded into the phone users can volunteer to be notified if someone nearby is in need of CPR by selecting the CPR notification option.

The application has received several international awards including the International Association of Fire Chiefs 2011 Fire Service Award for Excellence, a CTIA-The Wireless Association 2011 VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, a 2011 Computerworld Honors Program Laureate Award for Innovation, an American Heart Association Life Saver Heart Partner Award, and an IADAS Webby Official Honoree award for the Best Use of GPS or Location Technology. The Public Service Announcement designed to promote awareness and adoption of the application also received two Telly Awards.

The foundation is guided by an Advisory Board made up of visionaries in the tech and medical industries, including Dr. Ben Bobrow of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Co‐Founder and Co‐CEO Dave Duffield of Workday, CIO Tim Ferguson of Northern Kentucky University, CEO Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, and President Jack Parow of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

PulsePoint is a registered 501(c)(3) non‐profit foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose goal is to make it much easier for citizens who are certified in CPR to use their life saving skills to do just that… save lives! Through the use of modern, location‐aware mobile devices PulsePoint is building applications that work with local Fire Departments, EMS agencies, and Police Departments to improve communications with citizens and empower them to reduce worldwide sudden cardiac arrest deaths.

Note to Editors
For additional web and print resources related to the app including sample screen shots, supporting images and video, please visit the PulsePoint Foundation website at http://pulsepoint.org/media-resources.

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October 11, 2011 | by

PulsePoint App Prominently Featured at NKU Technology Building Grand Opening

Photo courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer/Patrick Reddy

Don Ledoux, founding board member of the PulsePoint Foundation, speaks in the digitorium of NKU's Griffin Hall.

On November 10, 2011 PulsePoint Chairman Matt Stamey and PulsePoint Treasurer Don Ledoux delivered keynote addresses during the grand opening ceremonies for Griffin Hall, the new $53 million home to the Northern Kentucky University’s College of Informatics. Chairman Stamey thanked the students and staff for their early role in the development of the PulsePoint app. Board member Don Ledoux, featured in the photo above, spoke on behalf of the Workday partnership and the foundation. Also speaking at event were Dell CEO Michael Dell, who addressed the dedication via a video message, and Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

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July 8, 2011 | by

PulsePoint Foundation Begins Work to Extend Reach of Lifesaving Fire Department Mobile Phone App

SAN RAMON, CA – The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District is proud to announce the formation of the PulsePoint Foundation. The new nonprofit organization has been established to guide, enhance and expand the reach of the Fire Department CPR notification app released earlier this year. The Fire Department app empowers everyday citizens to provide life-saving assistance to victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest. “The app crowd-sources Good Samaritans to events where the potential need for bystander CPR is high,” said Fire Chief Richard Price. “The vital work of the PulsePoint Foundation has already begun,” added Price. “PulsePoint is set to begin partnering with nearly two hundred fire and EMS agencies that have expressed interest in deploying the application in their communities.”

Although the application was pioneered and tested in the San Ramon Valley, the Fire District has always been anxious to share its life saving potential. Forming an independent and external foundation to distribute and support the application will help facilitate and speed adoption by other communities.

Intergraph Corporation, a leading Computer-aided Dispatch system vendor, has announced plans to offer the PulsePoint solution to all its accounts – which together cover one in twelve people worldwide. “Intergraph is proud to partner with the PulsePoint Foundation to facilitate this life-saving technology. The combination of PulsePoint’s CPR application and Intergraph’s global leadership in public safety solutions is a perfect match to achieve the ultimate objective of protecting lives,” said Jay Stinson, VP & General Manager, Intergraph Public Safety.

The PulsePoint Foundation will be guided by an Advisory Board made up of visionaries in the tech and medical industries, including Dr. Ben Bobrow of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Co-Founder and Co-CEO Dave Duffield of Workday, CIO Tim Ferguson of Northern Kentucky University, CEO Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, and President Jack Parow of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. The Board also includes a list of influential community leaders and business professionals including Bill Coy, Leadership Practice Director of La Piana Consulting, Petros Dermetzis, VP of Development at Workday, Joe Farrell, CEO of Redwood Orthopaedic Physical Therapy, Don Ledoux, Partner at Summit Financial Group, David Rice, President of the Tri-Valley Community Foundation, and Matt Stamey, Director at the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District. The board has recruited Richard Price, Fire Chief of the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, to serve as the Foundation’s president.

The application has received several international awards including the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) 2011 VITA Wireless Samaritan Award, a 2011 Computerworld Honors Program Laureate Award for Innovation, an American Heart Association Life Saver Heart Partner Award, and an IADAS Webby Official Honoree award for the Best Use of GPS or Location Technology. The Public Service Announcement designed to promote awareness and adoption of the application also received two Telly Awards.

The potential of the application also caught the attention of some of the country’s leading resuscitation experts, including partners of The HeartRescue Project, a five-state effort funded by the Medtronic Foundation designed to improve cardiac arrest survival rates.

“We know that improved survivor rates begin with improved bystander response,” says Dr. Michael Sayre, an associate professor of emergency medicine at The Ohio State University and the HeartRescue Project medical director. “By taking advantage of advances in mobile technology, we can bring nearby lifesavers right to the scene to begin CPR, saving precious seconds.” One of the first states planning to deploy the application is Arizona, a HeartRescue Project participant.

Both the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and Northern Kentucky University and its College of Informatics have generously donated all rights from their original work on the application to the foundation for the benefit of society.

“Collaboration with the PulsePoint Foundation perfectly aligns with Northern Kentucky University’s community outreach mission. This innovative technology has true potential to change and save lives and we are proud to be part of such an initiative,” said James Votruba, President of NKU.

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