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iPhone app helps doctors prepare for medical emergencies

March 29, 2011

Doctors perform better with iResus app than relying on memory

Watch this video of the iResus in action: YouTube - Study: iResus iPhone App Helps Doctors Prepare for Medical Emergencies 

Doctors who used an iPhone application performed significantly better in a simulated medical emergency than those who did not, according to a study led by Daniel Low, MD of Seattle Children’s Hospital. The study is published in the April issue of Anaesthesia.

“Every year approximately 250,000 people in the U.S. die from sudden cardiac arrest. Despite significant advances in resuscitation research, survival rates for adults suffering a cardiac arrest remain poor,” said Low, anesthesiologist at Seattle Children’s and assistant professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Low developed the application for the United Kingdom (U.K.) Resuscitation Council.

The purpose of the study was to see if the iResus application, which uses adult and pediatric algorithms and provides appropriate and user-friendly prompts, produced better results in a simulated medical emergency than relying purely on memory. Thirty-one doctors who had received advanced life-support training in the last four years were recruited to take part in the study at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, U.K.

The doctors were divided into two groups, one armed with the iResus and the other without. They were then put through a simulated cardiac arrest emergency, assisted by a nurse, and their knowledge and skills were evaluated using the CASTest scoring system. Doctors who used the iResus application scored an average of 85 out of 100, which was significantly higher than the 72 average achieved in the control group.

More than 60,000 free copies of the iResus have already been downloaded. 

“Our study provides further support for the current evidence that CPR prompt devices improve skills and can lead to a better outcome when a patient suffers a cardiac arrest,” concludes Low. “A healthcare professional recently told us that they had used it when they were involved in an out-of-hospital pediatric emergency. Being able to refer to pediatric drug doses they were unfamiliar with helped them to save a child’s life.” 

“We believe that this simple application, which can be downloaded for free, provides valuable additional support for all doctors faced with a life-saving emergency,” said Low.

Low’s study collaborators are: N. Clark, J. Nolan and A. Padkin of Royal United Hospital, Bath, U.K.; J. Soar of Southmead Hospital, Bristol, U.K.; A. Stoneham of University of Bristol, Bristol, U.K.; G.D. Perkins of University of Warwick, Warwick, U.K.

About Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/research.

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