Penn Medicine contest maps 1,400 lifesaving AEDs via crowdsourcing contest fueled by smart phones

November 04, 2012

LOS ANGELES - A crowdsourcing contest that sent hundreds of Philadelphians to locate and catalog the locations of AEDs throughout the nation's fifth largest city led to the identification of more than 1,400 automated external defibrillators in public places, according to a study from researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania that will be presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012 (Abstract #17478). The efforts of these "citizen scientists" are expected to help provide crucial data to ensure quick bystander response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, which is among the nation's leading killers.

Participants in the MyHeartMap Challenge, conducted over eight weeks during the winter of 2012, used a custom smart phone app to photograph AEDs, catalog their GPS coordinates, and enter information about other details such as the device's location in the building. Unlike implantable medical devices, AEDs are not subject to Food and Drug Administration regulations that require their manufacturers to track where they're placed after purchase, so the estimated 1 million devices across the United States often go unused during cardiac arrests, when prompt defibrillation is essential to improving the odds of surviving. The MyHeartMap Challenge findings provide essential data for the Penn Medicine team's efforts to build an AED map that will be accessible both by Philadelphia's 911 operators and by members of the public, who will be able to locate AED locations via a mobile app during cardiac emergencies.

More than 300 individuals and teams participated in the contest, locating 1,429 AEDs in more than 525 buildings across the city. The devices were most commonly found within gyms (19 percent), schools (16 percent), and offices (11 percent). Two winners, who each identified more than 400 AEDs, each received a $9,000 prize.

"Finding AEDs during this contest was a very hard task - many AEDs, we found, are in places people wouldn't think to look during an emergency, or were hard to obtain without special permission from building managers or security personnel," said MyHeartMap Challenge director Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and a senior fellow in Penn's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics. "But we're so impressed with the creative ways people sought out devices and provided us with information that we'll now be able to use to ensure that these devices are in the right place to save lives."

A separate study that Merchant will present at the Scientific Sessions provides additional clues about gaps in AED coverage in the community (Abstract #15). Of 1,420 buildings canvassed by her team in 2011 prior to the MyHeartMap Challenge, 88 percent did not have AEDs. In those that did, security and liability concerns were frequently cited as reasons for not allowing access to the device, and the time it took to obtain information and permission to use the device took valuable time - as long as 55 minutes, with a mean time of four minutes. Only 4 percent of AEDs found during that search had been used.

A third Penn Medicine study (Abstract #199), modeled after a recent European investigation, reveals that public education also remains a key priority for improving use of AEDs. The researchers surveyed 222 adults in two public transportation stations about their knowledge of AEDs, who is permitted to use them, and their willingness to utilize the devices in an emergency. Twenty five percent of respondents reported having been trained in CPR during the past five years, and 63 percent said they would call for help and/or dial 911 if they witnessed a cardiac arrest scenario. But only 8 percent of those surveyed spontaneously suggested using an AED when asked what other actions they would take. Fifty-nine percent of respondents were aware that AEDs are available in public places, but only 38 percent were aware the devices can be used by lay people - many reported they believe they were for use only by trained medical personnel. When informed that the devices can easily be used by the lay public, only 60 percent of respondents said they would be willing to use an AED themselves during an emergency.

"Our findings reveal significant knowledge gaps about the ease of use and lifesaving potential of AEDs," said the study's senior author, Benjamin Abella, MD, MPhil, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and director of clinical research in Penn Medicine's Center for Resuscitation Science. "Despite much greater availability of AEDs in public places in U.S. cities today, we must continue our efforts to educate the public about AED availability, and empower people to use these devices to save lives."
-end-
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $479.3 million awarded in the 2011 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2011, Penn Medicine provided $854 million to benefit our community.

CONTACT:
Holly Auer
C: 215-200-2313
Holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu

Onsite at Scientific Sessions:
Jessica Mikulski
C: 215-796-4829
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Related Emergency Medicine Articles from Brightsurf:

Deep learning in the emergency department
Harnessing the power of deep learning leads to better predictions of patient admissions and flow in emergency departments

Graduates of family medicine residencies are likely to enter and remain in family medicine
This study provides an overview of the characteristics of physicians who completed family medicine residency training from 1994 to 2017.

To support lactating emergency physicians, consider these strategies
A new paper highlights strategies that emergency departments can implement to support lactating emergency physicians.

Nuclear medicine and COVID-19: New content from The Journal of Nuclear Medicine
In one of five new COVID-19-related articles and commentaries published in the June issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine, Johnese Spisso discusses how the UCLA Hospital System has dealt with the pandemic.

Use of emergency departments plummets during COVID-19
A new commentary highlights the dramatic decline in emergency department visits during the COVID-19 pandemic and what could be causing the decrease.

Why is appendicitis not always diagnosed in the emergency department?
A new study examines the factors associated with a potentially missed diagnosis of appendicitis in children and adults in the emergency department.

NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.

The cost of waiting in emergency departments
Wait times in US emergency departments are increasing. A new study published in Economic Inquiry indicates that prolonging the wait time in the emergency department for a patient who arrives with a serious condition by 10 minutes will increase the hospital's cost to care for the patient by an average of 6%, and it will increase the cost to care for moderately severe cases by an average of 3%.

Emergency medicine: Department-based intensive care unit improves patient survival rates
A new Michigan Medicine study found that implementing a dedicated emergency medicine department-based intensive care unit improved patient survival rates and lowered inpatient intensive care unit (ICU) admissions.

Emergency room or doctor's office?
A new study in the journal Heliyon, published by Elsevier, examines the relationship between the way individuals perceive and respond to threats (threat sensitivity) and where they most frequently seek medical care.

Read More: Emergency Medicine News and Emergency Medicine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.