Colorado Springs Hospitals and EMS Collaborate Using Technology to Improve Care for Stroke and Heart Attack Victims

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Two Colorado Springs health systems have partnered with more than a dozen local emergency medical services agencies to implement the mobile application Pulsara to provide faster, better care to patients suffering from potentially devastating conditions.

Pulsara 4.6 Stroke Screens

Pulsara helps improve D2N outcomes for stroke patients.

Anyone having a heart attack or stroke should have the best chance at recovery, no matter who responds to their call for help or where they receive care.

When someone suffers a stroke in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a team of healthcare providers springs into action. First responders from local fire departments and American Medical Response (AMR) provide initial care, and quickly notify the hospital. The hospital emergency department prepares to receive the patient and deliver the immediate care required when the patient arrives. And the stroke team, a specialized group of doctors and nurses, mobilizes to treat and reverse the cause of the stroke as soon as possible.

Those steps used to happen through a series of radio reports, phone calls, pages and other methods of communication, sometimes causing delays in care. The potential for members of the team to receive incomplete or incorrect information through this communication maze increases the likelihood of mistakes that can negatively impact patient outcomes.

With the help of a mobile application called Pulsara, which runs on the smartphones or other smart devices of first responders, emergency department personnel, and medical specialists, those problems are in the past.

“Our neurologists used to get a page at home and not know anything more than that a stroke patient was coming in,” said Stephanie Schlenger, Neurosciences Program Director at U.C. Memorial. “Now, not only do they get more information before they even see the patient, but they also receive it directly from the EMS provider or emergency department staff who treated the patient — meaning there is less likelihood of communications errors that can be very detrimental to patient care.”

Colorado Springs is one of the first communities in the nation where hospitals from multiple health systems have partnered with each other and with EMS to harness the power of mobile technology. This allows them to coordinate their care teams and ensure that stroke and heart attack patients throughout the region receive fast, high-quality care.

“We are thrilled at the opportunity to use technology to not only make the jobs of our medics, nurses, and doctors easier, but also to improve the care we provide to the residents and visitors of Colorado Springs,” said Donna Stringer, Stroke Program Coordinator for Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, a part of Centura Health. “Anyone having a heart attack or stroke should have the best chance at recovery, no matter who responds to their call for help or where they receive care.”

Using the app, a paramedic in the field who recognizes a stroke can tap a button on her phone that notifies everyone on the assigned hospital team that an ambulance is on its way with a stroke patient. As the paramedic enters more information, including the patient’s medical history and vital signs, every member of the team is instantly updated.

“Before, our medics were never sure if the person on the other end of the radio heard what we said correctly or had time to write it down,” said E. Stein Bronsky, MD, the medical director for Colorado Springs Fire Department and AMR Colorado Springs. “Now they know that the information they enter into Pulsara can be viewed by everyone treating the patient.”

Hospitals and EMS systems are also using Pulsara to streamline and improve treatment of heart attack patients, who, like stroke victims, often need a rapid response from a team of specialists when they arrive at the hospital.

In addition to notifying the entire team of basic information, healthcare providers using Pulsara can transmit ECGs, photos, and even medical record numbers, allowing other members of the care team to look up the patient’s past medical history immediately. Because no information is stored on the user’s personal device, Pulsara is HIPAA compliant and secure.

“This collaboration between UCHealth, Centura Health and the Colorado Springs-area EMS providers is an example of how the healthcare community can come together to put their patients first,” said James Woodson, an emergency physician and creator of Pulsara. “With the added capabilities Pulsara provides, the community of Colorado Springs can rest easy knowing their family and friends are in great hands should an emergency occur.”

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ABOUT UC HEALTH:

UCHealth is comprised of 5 hospitals and partners, Memorial Star Air Ambulance, the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit, and AMR Specialty Care Transport Teams. They are headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO. The institutions which are part of UCHealth provide superior care to patients and committed service to the communities they serve. UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine and improves health through innovation. UCHealth’s mission is: "We improve lives. In big ways through learning, healing and discovery. In small, personal ways through human connection. But in all ways, we improve lives."

ABOUT CENTURA HEALTH:

Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 18,100 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through their 17 hospitals, senior living communities, health neighborhoods, home care and hospice services, they are making the region’s best health care accessible and affordable for the more than half a million people they serve each year. Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, part of Centura Health, is a full-service, 522-bed acute care facility offering a full complement of emergency, medical and surgical services. Penrose-St. Francis was named one of “America’s 50 Best Hospitals” nine years in a row, 2008-2016, by Healthgrades, the only recipient in southern Colorado. Centura’s mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in communities of Colorado and Kansas. For more information about Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, visit http://www.penrosestfrancis.org.

ABOUT PULSARA:

Pulsara is a digital healthcare corporation that focuses on using mobile technology to enhance patient treatment time outcomes by improving communication and care coordination through the entire healthcare system. Pulsara’s mobile applications STOP STROKE and STOP STEMI improve communications between the teams caring for stroke and heart attack patients, leading to faster treatment and better outcomes. Every clinician – from paramedics to emergency department staff to neurology and cardiology teams – is on the same page with a simple tap. For more information, visit http://www.pulsara.com.

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