Health IT

The art of medicine: Penn contest wants defibrillators to be more visible, accessible in Philly public spots

A public health design challenge wants to increase awareness of automated external defibrillators. Penn Medicine and University of Pennsylvania have kicked off the contest to help bystanders intervene for sudden cardiac arrest victims to increase their chances of survival. The Defibrillator Design Challenge is looking for designs that combine art and also maintain easy access […]

A public health design challenge wants to increase awareness of automated external defibrillators. Penn Medicine and University of Pennsylvania have kicked off the contest to help bystanders intervene for sudden cardiac arrest victims to increase their chances of survival.

The Defibrillator Design Challenge is looking for designs that combine art and also maintain easy access to the defibrillators, according to its website. It hopes to reduce the 350,000 deaths from sudden cardiac arrest in the U.S. each year. Participants must use a set of templates for their design. The public can also view submissions in the online gallery and vote on the web-based designs on the contest website.

A 2010 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology revealed that when bystanders and healthcare professionals could intervene by using an automated external defibrillator, they nearly doubled survival. The study concluded that the findings reinforced the importance of strategically expanding community-based AED programs.

Although an Amtrak train station, 30th Street Station, is the first public venue to participate, installations would also be likely to be added to other public places such as sports arenas, concert halls, theaters, museums, malls and fitness centers.

The organizers hope the designs will not only draw attention to the defibrillators but also instruct users to apply them to save lives.

The design challenge follows a defibrillator crowdsourcing challenge Penn held in 2012 to help map out locations of these defibrillators around the city and compile them in an app.

As in the Olympics, there will be a gold, silver and bronze winner who will receive prizes from $1,000 to $300. Two entries singled out for honorable mention will each receive $100. The deadline for submissions is March 6.

[Photo credit: Superman photo by Tamas Rozsovits]