Less than 11% of people who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive.
—American Heart Association
For Dr. Jacob Shepherd, a family medicine resident, using the Redivus Health Code Blue mobile application made a difference for one survivor.
While doing some in-the-field testing for Redivus last fall, Dr. Shepherd was on a ride-along with a Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department EMS team. A Code Blue call came in over the radio, reporting that someone was suffering from cardiac arrest – the patient’s heart had stopped from a massive heart attack. His EMS crew arrived at the scene about 30 seconds later.
“We started doing compressions right away, but I could tell we were getting off time,” he recalls. “I launched the app and used it to keep time and to track heart rhythms. We followed the treatment steps in the app and gave shocks, epinephrine and amiodarone. We were able to get the patient back and transferred to the hospital. The patient survived.”
Stay Calm, Act Quickly
As a first responder for a medical crisis, staying calm and acting quickly are critical.
“It’s kind of uncontrolled chaos when you’re in somebody’s house doing a code,” Dr. Shepherd says. “You’ve got the Fire Department there, the family is all worked up. You can’t just call down the hall for more help, like you can in the hospital. I saw the value of using this app in the field when you don’t have as many people or resources.”
On a rotation in the hospital ICU a few weeks later, Dr. Shepherd was involved in a second Code Blue situation. This time, it was all hands on deck and the code lasted 37 minutes. The patient did not survive, but the ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) guidelines were followed to the second using the Redivus Health app.
“In the hospital, you have more people in the room and one person leads the code. I used the app to keep the patient’s rhythms and followed the ACLS guidelines to the T. We had time-stamped documentation of each step in the patient’s treatment.
“Using the app gives you more time to think. It takes a complicated situation and it gets you to the answers faster,” Dr. Shepherd says. “It’s like a security blanket. It keeps you on track so you don’t have to worry about every next step and you can focus on the patient.”
Reducing Medical Error
Seeing the Redivus Health app in use in two different life-or-death situations made Dr. Shepherd appreciate the app’s potential to reduce medical error.
“Improving medical error is directly related to more closely following up-to-date clinical practice guidelines,” he says. “This app is a tool that allows physicians to focus on the patient, and ultimately there is huge potential to expand the app to other complicated clinical treatment situations.”