A recent study (Ringh M, et al. NEJM 2015; 372: 2316-25) shows that the ubiquitous nature of mobile phones/smartphones can lead to improved rates of bystander CPR.
The authors conducted a blinded, randomized controlled trial in Stockholm (2012-2013) using a mobile-phone positioning system. The intervention group had trained bystanders dispatched who were within 500 meters of individuals with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The control group received standard care. The primary outcome was bystander-initiated CPR before the arrival of ambulance, fire, and police services.
Key finding: With a network of 9828 trained volunteers, the intervention group had CRP initiated in 62% (188 of 305) compared with 48% for the control group (172 of 360)
The associated editorial (pg 2349-50) notes that in the U.S., every hour there are 38 people who have out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and fewer than 1 of 10 survive. They note they timely CPR improves survival rate. In a previous study, provision of CPR prior to EMS arrival increased survival from 4.0% to 10.5%. Besides technological limitations in the U.S., another potential barrier for trained bystanders would be allowing access to their location at all times and the “fear of being sued if they do not respond to a call.”
Bottomline: While there are barriers to be overcome, this is another example of reimagining the uses of new technology and developing a truly interconnected health network.
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