Department is the first in Kansas to adopt innovative telecommunicator CPR quality improvement program
More than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States annually, according to the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives. Cardiac arrest is a life-threatening condition with about a 10-minute life expectancy without immediate CPR from a bystander. With emergency medical service (EMS) providers, on average, arriving on scene in seven minutes following a 9-1-1 call, the chance of survival significantly improves when Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) telecommunicators guide callers on how to perform CPR.
Johnson County Emergency Management and Communications (EMC) manages countywide emergency communications systems and dispatch services. Operations is responsible for the processing of emergency and non-emergency calls for assistance received on E911 (Enhanced 911) and 10-digit phone lines. Operations dispatches FIRE and EMS in Johnson County and EMS in Miami County. Consequently, EMC recognizes the important role bystanders, with guided assistance from telecommunicators, play in impacting out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival. That’s why RQI-T, Resuscitation Quality Improvement® Telecommunicator, co-developed by the American Heart Association, Laerdal Medical and the Resuscitation Academy Foundation and delivered by RQI Partners, has been implemented to prepare telecommunicators to deliver high-quality telephone CPR. The department launched RQI-T on July 1 and has 30 employees enrolled in the program. Johnson County EMC is the first public safety call center in Kansas to adopt RQI-T, a blended educational and resuscitation quality improvement program that provides continuous, simulation-based mastery learning, practice and analytics to telecommunicators for delivery of high-quality telephone CPR to bystanders.
“Our organization is excited about the impact RQI-T will have on our telecommunicators’ telephone CPR preparedness,” said Ellen Wernicke, director at Johnson County Emergency Management and Communications. “The program will help elevate the effectiveness of high-quality telephone CPR instructions conveyed to bystanders, empowering them as the first link in the chain of survival to help save more lives. We are positioning our staff to improve the services we provide to our community.”
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is a time-critical, life-threatening condition that requires peak, high-quality performance. Research shows that continuous resuscitation training for telecommunicators can lead to a significant increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates and is essential to performing high-quality telephone CPR. RQI-T is delivered through “low-dose, high-frequency” telephone CPR simulation sessions, in 45 minutes every 90 days, and designed to improve telecommunicators’ ability to rapidly identify a cardiac arrest and initiate life-saving interventions.
“We are pleased to work with Johnson County Emergency Management and Communications , an organization that shares our unwavering commitment to improving cardiac arrest survival rates, in bringing RQI-T to its telecommunicators and enhancing the larger community’s well-being,” said David LaCombe, RQI Partners’ vice president of prehospital programs. “Together, we are positioning their telecommunicators to provide high-quality telephone CPR to bystanders, empowering them as the first link in the chain of survival to help save lives.”
In addition to the telephone CPR simulation sessions, the Johnson County Emergency Management and Communications team will employ the RQI-T program to measure 100% of the cardiac arrest calls processed by the department. This activity will provide telecommunicators and administrators with regular feedback on where to improve life-saving medical dispatch. The combination of education and quality improvement is expected to yield greater opportunities to save more lives.