New tech transmits patient EKG from ambulance to hospital

CARMICHAEL – New technology that was tested in a Carmichael hospital for one year is likely responsible for saving lives.

Sacramento Metro Fire is now using EKG machines that can transmit the EKG image directly to participating hospitals and physicians.

"It will go to their iPad," Metro Fire's Ric Maloney said. "They can see exactly what's on there."

Maloney wrote a grant application in 2012 that was approved -- giving the fire department $1.75 million for 75 units. The machines worked so well that the department decided to spend nearly $1 million so every fire engine and ambulance could have one.

"We've had situations where someone who is hanging by a thread now has their artery open and will be saved," said Dr. Scott Baron, Director of Mercy San Juan's Cardiac Emergency Services.

Cardiac teams now are able to read the EKG, diagnose the patient and know exactly what surgery is necessary before anyone walks in the door.

"It makes a big difference, people live or die based on that information," Baron explained.

The national average for getting a heart attack patient in the door and into surgery is 90 minutes. Mercy San Juan's average is 40 minutes, partly thanks to the mobile EKG.

Mercy San Juan was the pilot hospital for the technology. Kaiser South, Kaiser Roseville and Sutter Roseville now have it as well.

Maloney said U.C. Davis and Mercy General are considering adopting the technology as well.


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