There’s no shortage of mobile healthcare apps for paramedics, EMS professionals, and volunteers interested in saving lives.
While it’s impossible to know exactly how many first responder healthcare apps exist, there are more than 32,000 healthcare apps in the Google Play store just waiting for a download, according to Statista, a market research company.
Here are two with some lifesaving prowess for first responders.
As EMS professionals and paramedics, you should download this free first responder app. When dispatched to a patient with stroke symptoms, the app helps you improve your patient evaluation based on the symptoms.
Because of the complexity of stroke, there are assessment scales in place to help you properly determine stroke severity so patients receive the right level of care, said Kate Fink, who represents the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS).
The Stroke Scales For EMS app was created through the SNIS campaign “Get Ahead of Stroke,” which Fink leads for the society. The focus of the campaign is to update stroke systems of care protocols.
The purpose of the advocacy campaign is to enact legislative changes that will allow EMS professionals to use better tools that help them properly assess stroke patients. Patients will then aslo have access to a facility that provides the appropriate level of care based on their needs.
Stroke Scales for EMS in action
Currently, when first responders arrive, they must take stroke patients to the closest hospital. But, Fink said, not necessarily the right facility equipped to handle their unique medical needs.
EMS professionals don’t take on as many stroke cases compared to trauma-related injuries, Fink said, yet they are still expected to accurately assess stroke symptoms.
“The app puts complicated stroke [assessment] scales in the hands of EMS workers so they can quickly assess stroke severity and then decide if they need to get that person to a comprehensive stoke center,” she said. “EMS can take people to a trauma center if they see severe bleeding. We want it to be the same level of care as if someone needed a trauma center.”
The facility where stroke patients end up matters more than people realize, according to Fink. A properly equipped facility has proven essential to the stroke survivor’s outcome.
“If [patients] have to get transferred, it can be deadly,” Fink said. “It can be the difference between walking out of the hospital or living in a wheelchair for the rest of your life.”
If you are a community member or medical professional who is CPR trained, you simply download the PulsePoint app for free to receive emergency medical alerts when someone reports a cardiac arrest in a public place.
The app gives public addresses, such as a grocery store, in real time. Community members can select participating fire departments by ZIP code.
But not all fire departments opt into PulsePoint because there’s a fee for them. Some participating departments include Dallas Fire-Rescue, the Professional Fire Fighters of Albany (Ore.) Local 845 and the College Park (Ga.) Fire Department.
How PulsePoint saves lives
One real-life example of how apps like PulsePoint save lives is Gretchen Cliburn, a runner from Springfield, Mo. In April 2014, Cliburn collapsed while running the Go Girl Run Half Marathon in Springfield. Community members rushed to her aid and started giving Cliburn CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
Her listless body gave the impression she might not survive the cardiac event, but that didn’t stop others from trying to save her life. When the paramedics arrived, they immediately used an AED to bring her back.
As a cardiac arrest survivor, Cliburn now advocates that more people learn CPR and use PulsePoint so they too can try to save a life while waiting for an EMS unit to arrive.
Deanna Harrington leads and manages community risk reduction efforts as a battalion chief with the Arvada Fire Protection District in Colorado.
She said PulsePoint is well worth the cost because it helps save lives while connecting fire departments to the communities they serve.
“The sooner we can get CPR going, with quality compressions, the better the odds are for the person suffering cardiac arrest,” Harrington said. “It seems like an amazing idea to have citizen responders who can initiate CPR faster than we can arrive.”
The app may not work for all agencies, said Harrington, since the cost might be too prohibitive.
Since the app gives public addresses of people in cardiac arrest, it limits risks because fire departments don’t have to worry about an app giving out private residential addresses, she said.
Share your favorite first responder healthcare app
What is your favorite healthcare app? Share what helps you on the job, and why, with our readers in the comments below.