UF pharmacy students develop app to connect CPR providers, cardiac patients during emergency

University of Florida College of Pharmacy students developed CPRush, a smartphone/tablet application: Crystal Nguyen, Lyndle Morley, Samip Doshi and Amber Bradley
University of Florida College of Pharmacy students developed CPRush, a smartphone/tablet application: Crystal Nguyen, Lyndle Morley, Samip Doshi and Amber Bradley

A new app developed by three University of Florida College of Pharmacy students aims to help heart attack victims in the critical moments before an ambulance arrives to help.

The developers of CPRush want to fill the time gap that exists between a medical emergency and the arrival of first responders by using global positioning software to connect CPR-certified providers to a person in cardiac distress. When a cardiac event occurs, the patient activates the free app to simultaneously notify any licensed CPR providers in the area and call 911 to report the emergency.

“In testing our app around Gainesville, we determined that we can virtually beat an ambulance nine times out of ten based on response times,” said Samip Doshi, a third-year College of Pharmacy student and the computer engineer responsible for the apps programming and development. “Our intent with the app is not to replace the ambulance, but augment it during the perilous minutes that a cardiac patient waits for medical attention.”

To be effective, CPRush requires registration by the patient and a licensed CPR provider prior to an emergency. The app is designed for people with a history of cardiovascular issues but is open to anyone that wants to register as a patient. Individuals can voluntarily build a profile documenting their health history and information they would want to share with a responding medical provider. CPRush uses location-tracking services on the patient’s device to identify the location where medical attention is requested.

Only licensed CPR providers registered with CPRush will receive notification of a medical emergency in their area. Registration requires providers to upload front and back pictures of their CPR card to verify their training, and they are advised to only offer medical assistance within their profession’s scope of practice.

The app runs in the background of a registered-user’s device using minimal data and battery power. Multiple CPR-trained professionals are notified of an emergency call based upon their proximity to the person in distress. The app can show only the patient’s first name and location or more detailed medical information as determined by the patient’s app settings. Patients requesting assistance through the app receive no information about the CPR providers in the area or who is notified of their medical emergency.

Doshi, who has a background in software engineering, modeled the app after a similar community-based response program in Sweden. The Scandinavian country offers a cell phone text-based service to notify registered CPR-certified volunteers of a cardiac arrest victim nearby.

“The odds of survival increase dramatically when CPR is administered in the early stages of a heart attack,” Doshi said. “In a city like Gainesville, and other communities where there is a high concentration of health care professionals, we are betting that a CPR-trained professional nearby can deliver lifesaving care in the critical minutes usually spent waiting for an ambulance.”

CPRush was developed by Doshi with assistance from College of Pharmacy students Crystal Nguyen and Amber Bradley as well as UF undergraduate student Lyndle Morley. The app is available on Apple and Android devices.