Web-based Technology Involves Partnership With EMS Community
Crouse Hospital has implemented new web-based technology designed to reduce the time it takes for a patient to receive treatment for a dangerous form of heart attack known as STEMI (ST elevation myocardial infarction). Through the system, a patient’s heart rhythm and other key cardiac indicators are transmitted wirelessly in real time to the hospital from an ambulance, which saves significant diagnosis and treatment time once a patient arrives in the emergency room.
The LIFENET System, which uses the latest digital technology, is the first web-based system of its kind and was created for emergency medical services and hospital teams so they can set up heart attack alert systems in their communities. The goal is to reduce door-to-balloon time for these patients, saving heart muscle, and ultimately, more lives.
Studies show that the time from onset of symptoms to treatment, usually stent placement or balloon angioplasty, is critical to improving survival and outcomes for these patients. “Having this new system in place and partnering with our area EMS providers will help us reduce door-to-balloon times for heart attack patients even further,” says Joseph Battaglia, MD, medical director of cardiac services at Crouse Hospital. Dr. Battaglia adds that Crouse’s average
door-to-balloon time to treatment is 66 minutes.
Area emergency services providers participating with Crouse Hospital in the program include Rural Metro, EAVES, Fayetteville Ambulance, NAVAC, WAVES, Greater Baldwinsville Ambulance Corps, Minoa Ambulance Service, Menter Ambulance Service, Jordan Ambulance Service, Hannibal Ambulance Service, Greater Lenox Ambulance Service, CIMVAC and North Shore Ambulance.
The LIFENET System goes beyond just transmitting a 12-lead ECG to the hospital. It helps manage care for heart attack patients by alerting care teams and transmitting diagnostic-quality ECGs via a secure web-based alert system to everyone involved in the patient’s care. The appropriate emergency department and/or cardiac catheterization (cath) team can prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported so door-to-balloon time is reduced and heart muscle can be saved. The system allows paramedics in the field and physicians and nurses in the hospital to focus on treatment decisions and patient care while the system works quietly and effortlessly in the background, both in the field and in the hospital’s emergency department or cath lab.
The American Heart Association estimates that nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. experience a heart attack every year. Studies have reported a significant relationship between pre-hospital 12-lead ECGs and shorter door-to-balloon times, with two recent studies showing the effect was strongest when the cath lab team was activated while the patient was still en route to the hospital.