For ambulance crews, racing cardiac patients to the hospital is a life-saving routine. But often, it's the first moments after a heart attack that make the difference.
"Success in the hospital for resuscitation is really dependent on rapid bystander CPR," Chad Rammohan, M.D., said.
Rammohan is a director of the chest pain center at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. Two years ago, the hospital helped launch a smartphone system designed to create an army of citizen CPR providers.
"And the best outcome is when there's early defibrillation, meaning a defibrillator is available," Rammohan said.
The system, known as PulsePoint was the brain child of former San Ramon Valley Fire Chief Richard Price.
When a cardiac call comes in to 911, the PulsePoint app can locate the closest trained responder via their smartphone and even help them perform CPR with an automated external defibrillator, known as an AED.
"I'll receive a tone on my phone and a map showing me exactly how to get where I am, to where the patient's located," says Price. "I've now arrived at the patient, so I've selected the CPR how to portion of the app." he added.
Since being rolled out in Santa Clara County and the East Bay, the PulsePoint Foundation has expanded the system.
Beginning this year, the program now allows users to locate and mark the location of AEDs in schools and public buildings.
The goal is a powerful, searchable database that could locate the nearest defibrillator in an emergency. For photographer Brent Pederson the opportunity struck on a local tennis court, when he provided CPR to a player who'd collapsed with chest pain.
"So I just started pumping his chest and giving him mouth to mouth and we just kept it up for about 10 or 12 minutes until the medics arrived," Pederson said.
Organizers are hoping the new features will help make the system even more powerful. Ultimately, stretching a life-saving safety net across the Bay Area.
The new app known as PulsePoint is now available for download through the Apple iTunes store.