SUSPECTED heart attack and stroke patients around Ballarat will receive faster treatment with the trial of a new app.
The Pulsara app will allow ambulance paramedics to send vital real-time information about a patient’s condition directly to the Ballarat Base Hospital emergency department, cardiac, neurology and other specialists and departments.
Medical teams will then be on standby and prepared to begin immediate treatment when the patient arrives at hospital.
“Time is of the essence for cardiac and stroke patients,” said Ambulance Victoria clinical manager Grant Hocking.
“This app puts everyone on the same page, synchronising our communication not just to the emergency department but specialists within the hospital as well.”
Ballarat is just the second location outside the US to trial the Pulsara app.
Ballarat Hospital project coordinator Debbie Pearce said clear, accurate communication ensured the best possible outcome for cardiac and stroke patients.
“At the moment that communicating is done over the phone and often over multiple calls. Streamlining communication and transfer information with specialist teams while still in the ambulance will hopefully mean a specialist team is ready prior to arrival.”
The hospital treats about 12 urgent heart attack and 20 confirmed strokes each month, with dozens more suspected cases.
The app shares a patient’s personal details, condition, diagnostic tests including heart ECG readings, and treatment given between paramedics and hospital staff.
Information and updates on treatment or change in condition is instantly pushed through to everyone involved in the patient’s care.
Crucially it also features a clock that runs from the first treatment for suspected cardiac patients, and from the suspected onset time of a stroke, so medical staff can monitor the progress of treatment.
A group of emergency department doctors in Texas originally created the app to improve communication about time-sensitive patients.
“It was a great success at that hospital and is now found everywhere in the States, but Victoria is the first state outside the US to trial it,” said app developer Brandon Means.
The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne approached Pulsara to trial the app in Victoria to improve the outcomes for local stroke and heart patients.
“Staff here are keen and interested in making sure they are able to deliver treatment as quickly as possible,” said Florey Institute research fellow Kathleen Bagot.
The app will be installed on the phones and tablet devices of ambulance officers, emergency department doctors, cardiac catheter lab staff, radiographers, neurologists, cardiologists and medical registrars.
Bendigo paramedics and hospital staff have used the app for the past six months and were so impressed they extended the trial.
Pulsara app developers were in Ballarat this week to train ambulance and hospital staff to use the app before the 12-month trial begins throughout the central Grampians region on May 29.