December 7, 2013 | by

Need to Save a Life? There’s an App for That.

Three years ago, San Ramon Valley Fire Chief Richard Price was eating dinner when he heard ambulance sirens. Someone next door had suffered a cardiac arrest and was unconscious.

“That whole time, while that crew was making their way to the scene, I had an AED in my car. I could’ve started CPR,” says Price. This event made Price realize that the system in place to help people during a cardiac crisis is not good enough. So, he — like many health care innovators today — turned to technology to enhance our society’s ability to save lives.

Every year, around 383,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur in the U.S. and less than eight percent of people who suffer them outside of a hospital survive. That’s because the first few minutes after cardiac arrest are vital to survival. After a person’s heart stops beating, brain damage can occur in four to six minutes. By 10 minutes, there is almost no chance of survival.

Even in Price’s former fire district, which he said had many advantages, ambulance response times were seven minutes in the city, eight in the suburbs, and fifteen in rural areas. Quality CPR given immediately after cardiac arrest can double, even triple, the chance of survival but this can only happen if CPR-trained people nearby know that someone needs their help.

That is the exact problem that Price is working to remedy.

Rather than merely reflecting on his experience as an unfortunate inevitability, Price was resolved to find out what more he could do to prevent similar situations in the future. That is how he came up with PulsePoint, an app that notifies CPR-trained bystanders of nearby cardiac arrests.

Read the full post by Taylor Kubota at the Xerox Healthbiz Decoded blog.

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