An App on Your Phone Could Help You Save Lives


The American Heart Association estimates more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States each year. Almost 90 percent of those people will die because they did not get help in time – survival depends on getting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) quickly.

Now there is an app for that – PulsePoint.

PulsePoint, now available in Boone and Campbell counties, connects people trained in CPR with people having a cardiac arrest. It also shows the location of nearby automated external defibrillators (AED), which can be used to shock the heart into restoring a normal rhythm. PulsePoint has been in use in Erlanger and Kenton County for more than two years.

“More than 60 percent of adults in the United States are trained in CPR, yet only about 10 percent will ever use CPR in an emergency,” says Joshua Ishmael, BS, NRP, Coordinator of Emergency Medical Services for St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “St. Elizabeth is committed to reducing cardiac death rates in the region. In order to do that, we need to help empower trained bystanders. That is why we felt it was important to activate PulsePoint in Northern Kentucky.”

Boone County Sheriff Michael A. Helmig, who worked with officials to implement PulsePoint in the region says, “Having a civilian by your side administering CPR until paramedics arrive can be the difference between life and death. This app allows us to send a notification from our 911 dispatch center to trained individuals that are nearby so they can provide life-saving assistance.”

Dale Edmondson, Director of Campbell County 9-1-1 Center, says, “In my current role as Director of the Campbell County 9-1-1 Center and a person with 44 years in emergency services, I view PulsePoint to be a potential lifesaving tool for the people of Northern Kentucky.”

Tony Scheben, Assistant Chief, Hebron Fire District, explains how more people can help with just a little training, “With the simplification of CPR and the hands-only approach, I believe anyone with little or no training can act on behalf of their fellow human. With this technology, you can get an instant notification of cardiac events near you, and anyone now has the ability to help. It is human nature to want to help one another. You just need to know when to act. Through an application like PulsePoint, we will know when we can help someone nearby. There is nothing better than to have helped save another’s life, and CPR or basic first aid can make a difference.”

How Does PulsePoint Work?

St. Elizabeth and PulsePoint have formed a partnership with community leaders, emergency medical services, and 911 dispatch centers to allow individuals in Northern Kentucky to help save lives of people in cardiac arrest.

When the 911 dispatch center gets a call about someone experiencing cardiac arrest in a public place, it will simultaneously send a notification to PulsePoint users who have indicated they are trained in CPR. The notification will only go to users who are within a quarter mile of the incident, as time is essential in administering life-saving CPR.

The application uses sophisticated location-based software to alert the users; it also directs users to the exact location of the closest public AED.

“Currently, over 6,000 people have the PulsePoint app on their phone and we want to increase the number in this region with the additions of Boone and Campbell County,” said Ishmael. “We have a large percentage of healthcare workers in the region, so likely a high percentage of people trained in CPR. We feel this app can really help us save the lives of our friends, neighbors and loved ones.”

To download the app, search for PulsePoint in the App Store on your smartphone. It is available for both iOS and Android users. For more information or for a link to download the app, visit our webpage.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare has pledged to work with the community to reduce heart-related deaths in the Northern Kentucky region by 25 percent by the end of 2025. This technology can help us reach that goal.