MedStar (TX) Introduces New CPR Education Program to Help Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival

MedStar has implemented the Resuscitation Quality Improvement® Telecommunicator to prepare telecommunicators to deliver high-quality telephone CPR.
Photo/Medstar

More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States annually, according to the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization dedicated to a world of longer, healthier lives. Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition with about a 10-minute life expectancy without immediate CPR from a bystander. With emergency medical service providers, on average, arriving on scene in seven minutes following a 9-1-1 call, the chance of survival significantly improves when public safety answering point (PSAP) telecommunicators guide callers on how to perform CPR.

MedStar Mobile Healthcare (MedStar), the regional governmental agency that serves Fort Worth and 14 other member cities comprising the Metropolitan Area EMS Authority, recognizes the important role bystanders play in impacting out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival — with guided assistance from telecommunicators. That’s why Resuscitation Quality Improvement® Telecommunicator (RQI® -T) has been implemented to prepare telecommunicators to deliver high-quality telephone CPR. The agency recently launched RQI-T and has 32 employees enrolled in the program.

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MedStar is the first PSAP in Fort Worth to adopt RQI-T, a blended educational and resuscitation quality improvement program that provides continuous, simulation-based mastery learning, practice and analytics to telecommunicators for delivery of high-quality telephone CPR to bystanders. The program is co-developed by the American Heart Association, Laerdal Medical and the Resuscitation Academy Foundation and delivered by RQI Partners, the partnership between and service provider for the Association and Laerdal.

“A telecommunicator who effectively engages the caller, identifies the cardiac arrest, and coaches effective CPR could double or triple the chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. They are truly the FIRST, first responder,” said Joe Merry, communications center manager for MedStar. “Our collaboration with RQI Partners and adoption of RQI-T will help assure that MedStar’s 911 dispatchers are providing outstanding telephonic CPR instructions to on-scene family members or others who will then become bystanders/responders!”

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is a time-critical, life-threatening condition that requires peak, high-quality performance. Research shows that continuous resuscitation training for telecommunicators can lead to a significant increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates and is essential to performing high-quality telephone CPR. RQI-T is delivered through “low-dose, high-frequency” telephone CPR simulation sessions, in 45 minutes every 90 days, and designed to improve telecommunicators’ ability to rapidly identify a cardiac arrest and initiate lifesaving interventions. The simulation sessions are based on real-life emergency calls and provide immediate debriefing.

“We are pleased to work with MedStar Mobile Healthcare, an organization that shares our unwavering commitment to improving cardiac arrest survival rates,” said David LaCombe, RQI Partners’ vice president of prehospital programs. “Every second counts during cardiac arrest events — patients have 600 seconds before death becomes irreversible. RQI-T will position MedStar’s telecommunicators to competently, confidently and effectively provide high-quality telephone CPR to bystanders, empowering them as the first link in the chain of survival to help save more lives.”

In addition to the telephone CPR simulation sessions, MedStar will employ the RQI-T program to measure 100% of the cardiac arrest calls processed by the agency. This activity will provide telecommunicators and administrators with regular feedback on where to improve lifesaving medical dispatch.

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