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On Wednesday, September 30th 2020, RapidSOS and Avive Solutions hosted a webinar, “How Connected Health Devices are Tackling the COVID Data Gap in Emergencies.” 

Eugene Hsu, MD, MBA, Head of Healthcare at RapidSOS, sat down with Sameer Jafri, President and COO of Avive Solutions. They spoke about: 

  • Challenges 911 faces accessing enough data about medical emergencies
  • The impact of COVID-19 on that data gap
  • Solutions to share data downstream with healthcare providers.

You can find the full recording of the webinar here.

First responders struggle to get data during emergencies

Sameer shared an insightful personal story about a close family member who experienced a sudden cardiac arrest. The individual collapsed on their bed, was unresponsive, and not breathing properly. His family called 911 for help, and the telecommunicator instructed them to begin delivering CPR while the ambulance was dispatched. 

About 15 minutes later, EMS arrived on scene, but it was unfortunately too late. What the telecommunicator and EMTs didn’t know was that Sameer’s family was performing CPR on the bed – CPR is supposed to be performed on a hard, flat surface to ensure even pumping throughout the body.

The tragedy of a lost loved one was compounded by the fact that it could have been prevented. If telecommunicators had access to more information about the scene, the outcome could have changed. The reality is that this kind of scenario occurs over 400,000 times a year in America alone.

The reality is that 911 first responders rely on details shared during an emergency phone call. Sameer and his family were untrained, panicked, and nervous, but the system as it is puts so much responsibility and pressure on them to act. The lack of data shared with dispatchers, first responders, and healthcare providers, results in worse outcomes before patients even reach the hospital.

The impact of COVID-19 on the 911 data gap

The COVID-19 pandemic unmasked deficiencies in the way healthcare providers, responders, and payers deliver care. Strained workforces and rapidly changing circumstances have made it extremely difficult to provide care at the scale necessary to fight the virus. 

A large reason behind that is the lack of communication between providers on either side of an emergency response. During COVID, something as simple as a positive or negative test result can make a huge difference in how care is delivered. In the case of a cardiac arrest, connected devices are more important than ever, since they can make a huge impact in cardiac arrest intervention before first responders can arrive on scene.

Consumers and first responders want to share this data, whether it’s simply profile information about a caller, medical and allergy information, or pulsox symmetry data for respiratory problems. 

As Eugene describes it, “People want 911 to have this data, to protect themselves and their loved ones. It’s especially important during COVID, when caretakers aren’t working or are unable to be in the room with the people they’re taking care of.” 

Solutions to share data downstream with healthcare providers.

To overcome this challenge, connected health devices like Avive’s AEDs are sharing data downstream with telecommunicators, first responders, and healthcare providers to materially impact the way care is delivered. This data is useful across the board, whether it’s before first responders get on scene, in the ambulance, or in the ER.

One way these devices are bridging the gap is by connecting directly to public safety through the emergency response data platform. The impact is expedited response times, better informed first responders, and better emergency outcomes.

“If you can get AED therapy on scene faster, you can save thousands of lives during cardiac arrest annually,” said Sameer Jafri.

Check out the full webinar recording here.