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Raising industry standards, IU Health investing millions in new CPR training

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana University Health announced plans to implement an entirely new cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) protocol for the 20,000 medical professionals working in their hospitals. The announcement came Friday from Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jonathan Gottlieb.

The education training is called Resuscitation Quality Improvement (RQI) 2020 and hails from the American Heart Association.

“It’s their attempt to raise the bar,” said Dr. Michele Saysana, vice president of Safety, Quality and Performance at IU Health. “This is a critical step in helping resuscitation practices and really building on a program that meets the needs of clinicians using updated adult learning theory to teach these concepts.”

The education program couldn’t come at a better time. National survival rates for cardiac arrest average just 26%.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a critical, life saving skill. It combines a series of rhythmic chest compressions interspersed with mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths and is essential when a person experiences cardiac arrest or a heart attack. Without emergency CPR, the body remains lifeless, lacks a heartbeat, is without a pulse and isn’t breathing. Permanent brain damage and/or death can occur in as little as six minutes.

The previous protocol allowed medical personnel to retain a CPR certification for two years before having to re-certify. Yet, according to the IU Health press release, “key skills [learned] decay in as few as three months after training is completed. This decline in competence puts those in need of CPR at a lower risk of survival.” 

Under the new program, professionals are now required to refresh their skills every three months. Furthermore, classes incorporate computerized mannequins allowing students to “perform high-quality compressions and ventilations with personalized audio and visual feedback” 

This differs from previous classroom formats proctored by teachers.

As a former instructor, Saysana admits she thought she knew how well people were performing but came to realize in a classroom with multiple students, it’s nearly impossible to give each and every student individualized attention. The computerized mannequin, however, is designed to do just that– assess real-time performance on every compression and every breath providing students immediate feedback.

“The American Heart Association is thrilled that Indiana University Health has implemented RQI 2020 to improve CPR readiness for its staff and healthcare providers, becoming the largest program adopter in the state,” said Wendy King, Executive Director of the American Heart Association, Indianapolis branch.

“By implementing RQI, staff are equipped with high-quality CPR skills and stronger competence and confidence in life-saving situations, ultimately helping to increase in-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates.”