The American Heart Association (AHA) is the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. In 2016 they launched the Hands-Only CPR training kiosk program with the national support of the Anthem Foundation.
“The Anthem Foundation is committed to improving the health and wellness of individuals and families in communities across the country,” said Lance Chrisman, executive director, Anthem Foundation. “We are proud to join the American Heart Association as part of this important and innovative program that is working to increase the number of individuals who are trained and confident about performing CPR to benefit our communities and ultimately save lives.”
Thirty kiosks were placed in cities across the United States. The AHA has placed the self-instructional kiosks in high-traffic, public locations, such as airports. To date, these interactive devices have trained over 100,000 people in the life-saving skill of Hands-Only CPR.
“This novel approach has trained 100,000 additional people in CPR, which is a major step toward our vision of a nation of life-savers,” said John Meiners, the Association’s Chief of Mission Aligned Businesses and Healthcare Solutions. “Nearly ninety percent of people who experience a cardiac arrest outside the hospital die, so we continually look for innovative ways to train the public in Hands-Only CPR in order to improve survival outcomes.”
Among the organization’s 2020 goals are: doubling survival from cardiac arrest, doubling the rate of bystander CPR, and training 20 million people annually in CPR. The leaders of AHA envision these kiosks as the way to reach these goals. If CPR is performed immediately it can double or even triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival. With more than 20% of the almost half a million heart attacks occurring in public places, the importance of everyone being educated in how to perform CPR is crucial.
“Less than half of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander, which is a grim statistic that needs to change,” said Danielle Cortes DeVito, a paramedic in Chicago and an American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR volunteer. “Bystander CPR is crucial when a person is in cardiac arrest. As a paramedic, I’ve seen firsthand how CPR performed by a bystander can help save the life of a cardiac arrest victim before I arrive at the scene to provide professional help. However, many Americans still don’t perform CPR because they don’t know how to perform the skill or they’re afraid they might hurt the person. Through the self-instruction available at these kiosks, the public can learn Hands-Only CPR and start to build confidence to perform this life-saving skill that may make the difference for someone they know or love.”
Statistics show that 90% of the people who have a heart attack outside of the hospital die because not enough people know or feel confident about performing CPR. These kiosks make it super easy to learn. Every device has a touch screen that displays a brief instructional video. Then the lesson is followed by a practice session on a manikin built into the machine and a 30-second test. The practice manikin gives precise training feedback about the depth and rate of compressions. These factors have an influence on the effectiveness of CPR. The entire training session from beginning to end takes only about five minutes to complete. It’s worth the time. Especially since about 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in homes meaning you will most likely be saving the life of someone you love.
There have been several success stories so far of the kiosk training resulting in saved lives. The association plans to use the findings from this study to hopefully have more kiosks placed in high-traffic locations.