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Barriers and Solutions For Effective CPR Training (Part 1)

This two-part blog post series is based on a recent Webinar with Kristen Woodruff, Program Manager at Main Line Health and James Wilber, Associate Product Manager at HealthStream.

In the last few years, the American Heart Association (AHA) has become increasingly focused on high-quality CPR and the means by which healthcare providers are trained to deliver this level of care. The AHA has announced new guidelines advocating for the kinds of technology in training that incorporates real-time monitoring, recording, and feedback regarding CPR quality.

CPR Efficacy Concerns

Annually, 200,000 adults will suffer cardiac arrest in hospitals. While estimates vary, it seems that less than 25% of those patients will survive the event. While experts may disagree on the precise survival percentage, there is consensus when it comes to the urgency with which healthcare providers need to drive towards higher-quality CPR.

First, the Bad News: High-Quality CPR Training Is More Difficult Than We Think

Until now, high-quality training has been difficult to achieve. Current methods for providing CPR training have some inherent problems:

  • Most CPR training is too infrequent to result in high-quality CPR. There is no real evidence to suggest that every two years is the optimal schedule for refreshing this skill.
  • There is evidence to suggest a rather significant deterioration in the psychomotor skills associated with high-quality CPR in as little as six months, particularly among staff who do not regularly use the skill.
  • Inconsistencies between instructors can result in uneven training across an organization.
  • Some skills, such as depth of compressions and ventilations, are simply too difficult for an instructor to effectively evaluate from observation.
  • Instructor-led training is time-consuming, and the associated record keeping is cumbersome and labor-intensive for education and training staff to manage.
  • And, perhaps the most disappointing aspect is that after going through an instructor-led program, some students may still not feel confident in their skills and express some reluctance about their likelihood to respond to an actual code.


The Good News: Changing CPR Training Dramatically Improves Results

HealthStream’s James Wilber cites research published by The Resuscitation Journal in 2009 that showed that the use of VAMs for CPR training amongst a group of paramedics improved ventilation rates by 64% and improved the performance of compressions by an astonishing 92%. They were tested on traditional manikins and then on VAMs. The real-time feedback provided by the VAMs dramatically improved both performance and confidence.

Building a Better Model for CPR Training

If the traditional, instructor-led training on which healthcare organizations have relied for years does not lead to high-quality CPR, what is the answer? Kristen Woodruff, who leads CPR training efforts at Main Line Health, shares her organization’s experience. Main Line Health is a large not-for-profit healthcare system that serves Philadelphia and its western suburbs. With 11,000 employees and approximately 2,000 physicians, Woodruff has an enormous task.

Prior to implementing HeartCode, Woodruff and Main Line Health had an instructor-led program. It was time-consuming, and this approach made it difficult for employees to balance the needs of their patients and their families and still find time for the somewhat lengthy training that had been required every two years. The provider kept CPR certifications current, but it was cumbersome administratively, and there were some concerns about the efficacy of the training.

She and Main Line Health partnered with HealthStream and selected HeartCode as their solution. In Part 2 of this blog series you will learn more about what happened when Woodruff implemented HeartCode at Main Line Health.

The evidence for better CPR training is compelling and new technology can make high-quality CPR a reality for your organization. To learn more about how HealthStream and HeartCode can improve CPR training for your organization, click here.

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