Using Mobile Technology to Save Lives

Todd Vandenbark

Ambulance photoWhen someone experiences a cardiac emergency, seconds count. Every second that the heart is not beating is another second that vital organs are not receiving oxygen. The sooner basic life support (BLS) is initiated, the greater the chance a life can be saved. A recent simulation study in Stockholm, Sweden, demonstrated how an alert system using mobile positioning can get trained lay emergency responders to the site of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest up to 56% faster than the nearest ambulance, based on historical data. The study did not track how much time was actually saved between the initiation of CPR by a lay responder and the arrival of emergency personnel. But because it was conducted in highly populated city suggests that it could be replicated to demonstrate the value of creating and implementing such a system in other large cities.