Developing a drone-delivered defibrillator network

Out of hospital cardiac arrest is a frequently-lethal complication of many common types of serious heart diseases, but because of the delay in getting effective defibrillation to the patient, most are already beyond help when help arrives. The concept of using drones to deliver defibrillators to the scene of a witnessed cardiac arrest has generated much interest, but no benefit will be achieved unless the human factor is well understood and properly managed; medical drones delivering life-saving technologies are not something the public is currently familiar with, and the creation of a new regional drone network itself presents challenges in community acceptance and use. Duke Health cardiologists leading this effort partnered with SSRI to examine this “human factor”. SSRI implemented a pilot study that addressed perspectives of key community stakeholders and informants, ranging from EMS personnel to political leadership, to uncover concerns and challenges to the successful implementation of such a network.

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