Reach Heart Attack Victims Faster via Mobile Phone SMS

Sweden has instituted a country-wide program where citizens can enroll to receive an SMS when there is a heart attack victim nearby, allowing them to reach them faster than an ambulance and provide CPR.  Over 1,500 people with CPR skills have enrolled in the program, called SMSlifesavers (smslivraddare in Swedish).  When its call center receives an alert about a possible heart attack, SMSlifesavers within a quarter mile (500 meters) are text message with an address and map.  In 40% of the cases, SMSlifesavers arrived before ambulances and started providing CPR.

The service was launched as a research project by the Stockholm South General Hospital, with the goal of increasing the survival rate by 50% in cases where cardiac arrest happened outside of a hospital.  The system uses global positioning of user’s cell phones to find lifesavers

While this service might result in a mob of local Samaritans rushing to providing help, having too much help is better than help arriving too late – without quick CPR, victims don’t have a chance and is the main reason why their survival rate is so low.