AHA, Laerdal Medical call for improved CPR competency

Through this call to action, the American Heart Association and medical equipment company Laerdal Medical aim to save 50,000 additional lives from preventable cardiac arrest death each year by 2025.

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The American Heart Association and Laerdal Medical, a medical equipment company based in Norway, have furthered their long-term partnership and are calling for a paradigm shift in CPR competency. Through this effort, they hope to save 50,000 additional lives from preventable cardiac arrest death each year by 2025.

In a recent phone interview, John Meiners, chief of missioned aligned business for the AHA, elaborated on the importance of CPR. Though the technique has been around for years, healthcare workers weren’t retaining their competency levels for very long. Although many organizations were retraining employees every 24 months, specific studies showed the skills needed for CPR began to erode after three to six months, he noted.

“Skills training … need[s] to be refreshed on a more frequent basis,” Meiners said.

Because of this problem, the AHA and Laerdal teamed up in 2015 to co-develop Resuscitation Quality Improvement, or RQI. The simulation-based program offers healthcare professionals hands-on learning opportunities to practice their CPR skills in 10 minutes every 90 days.

More recently, the organizations held the inaugural RQI 2020 Keynote and Healthcare Networking Conference on July 26 in Dallas, Texas. The event brought together executives from 30 health systems across the country. It was also live streamed to listeners around the world, Meiners said.

The entities also announced the formation of a new venture partnership, RQI Partners. The company brings together the AHA’s expertise in science with Laerdal’s know-how in technology to deliver resuscitation quality improvement initiatives.

Each year, “there are over 200,000 cardiac arrests in U.S. hospitals. Only 26 percent of those survive today,” Meiners said.

Thus, the ultimate goal of the AHA and Laerdal’s work is not only to improve provider competency, but to aim for zero preventable deaths.

As of late, the American Heart Association has launched other initiatives focused on heart health.

Last summer, it teamed up with Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of insurer Anthem, to create hands-only CPR training kiosks in airports across the United States. The stations instruct users about the two steps of hands-only CPR: If you see someone suddenly collapse, call 911 and then push quickly on the center of the person’s chest until assistance arrives. Additionally, the kiosks allow users to practice CPR on a rubber manikin and participate in a 30-second test.

Earlier this year, the AHA banded together with Philips and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to start a $30 million venture capital fund called Cardeation Capital. Managed by Aphelion Capital, it focuses on treatment innovations for cardiovascular disease, stroke care and diabetes.

Photo: BrianAJackson, Getty Images