A recent Wall Street Journal article described cutting edge equipment, techniques and skills in Emergency Medical Services (EMS) that are changing patient outcomes, revolutionizing care and sharpening the leading edge of the EMS industry.
So how do Aetna and ASM match up against The Ultimate Lifesaver?
Volume 1: Cardiac Monitors
The Wall Street Journal article says, “Another new device finding its way into some ambulances is a digital transmission system that speeds sophisticated electrocardiogram readings to the hospital so cardiac patients can get treated faster. When heart-attack victims require a balloon angioplasty, a procedure that opens blocked blood vessels, hospital staff often rush to get this done within 90 minutes, the time required to avoid heart-muscle damage. The transmission device is usually combined with a monitor to track the patient’s pulse, heart signs and breathing.”
How do we match up?
ASM and Aetna have been operating 12-lead capable cardiac monitors since the early 2000s and currently operate LifePak 15s. Sophisticated and portable, these monitors are capable of four and 12-lead EKGs, defibrillation, cardioversion, external pacemaking, oxygen saturation and carbon monoxide measurement, pulse oximetry and CO2 detection.
As the WSJ article alludes to, simply having 12-lead capable cardiac-monitors is no longer the standard. ASM and Aetna have equipped their LifePaks with a wireless modem that can transmit 12-lead EKG directly to a terminal in the ED as well as the smartphone of the ED physician, the cardiologist and the interventionalist.
This allows the cardiac catherization laboratory to be “activated” from the field, placing highly skilled staff on alert and bypassing the ED entirely. For EKG transmission success stories, see the Tag “Kudos from the Cath Lab” on the main blog page.