3 min read

When Things Go Wrong: Medical Error a Leading Cause of Death

By James Woodson, MD on Jun 29, 2017

Research suggests that medical errors play an even bigger role in preventable deaths in U.S. hospitals than previously estimated, and 80 percent of all serious medical errors involve miscommunication. That amounts to 250,000 - 400,000 deaths every year in the U.S. Tools that help medical professionals communicate more quickly, accurately, and collaboratively are critical to saving lives. 

More than fifteen years ago, the Institute of Medicine released a groundbreaking report on the incidence of medical errors in U.S. hospitals. The report suggested as many as 98,000 people die every year from medical errors.[1] Recent analysis from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine says that report may have significantly underestimated the problem, putting the actual number closer to 250,000 - 400,000.[2] In fact, medical error is now considered the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Communication Emergency Medicine
1 min read

It’s About Time: Addressing the Communication Crisis in Emergency Healthcare [eBook]

By James Woodson, MD on May 18, 2017

As an emergency room physician, I experience firsthand the impact of outdated communication systems — how they hamper good patient care and challenge even the most talented, dedicated, and well-trained medical professionals. In emergency situations, when seconds count, fast and accurate communication between care teams can mean the difference between life and death.

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Communication
2 min read

Pulsara featured in Australian News Story as Second International Hospital Begins Use of the Platform

By Hannah Ostrem on May 16, 2017

Pulsara was featured last week in a news article on Australian news site, The Courier after Ballarat Base Hospital, Pulsara's second international hospital client, began a pilot of the platform. Ballarat will leverage Pulsara to receive real-time information about a patient’s condition from local paramedics to get the entire emergency department, cardiac, neurology and other specialists and departments on the same page.

Image: The Courier -- Paramedics use Pulsara to alert hospitals of incoming patients and reduce treatment times.

According to the article, Ambulance Victoria clinical manager Grant Hocking said “Time is of the essence for cardiac and stroke patients. This app puts everyone on the same page, synchronizing our communication not just to the emergency department but specialists within the hospital as well.”

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Press Australia
1 min read

New Data Shows MR CLEAN Trial Results Extend to at Least Two Years

By Brittney Nelson, BSN, RN, SCRN on Apr 11, 2017

“I think it will help you as a doctor to know you’re doing a treatment not only for 3 months, but that the treatment benefit is going to last for at least 2 years,” said Yvo Roos, MD. “It’s going to help you be more convincing to the relatives that you’re doing the right thing, that you’re doing something that’s really going to help them."

Topics: Stroke
4 min read

Kentucky Hospital Improves Treatment for Heart Attack Patients Through Collaboration and Technology [Press Release]

By Team Pulsara on Mar 30, 2017


St. Elizabeth Healthcare, in Edgewood, Kentucky, decreased the time to treat critical heart attack patients by 30 percent.

Edgewood, KY – Mar. 30, 2017 – In the past year, St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood, Kentucky, significantly decreased the time-to-treatment for heart attack patients, following an effort by stakeholders from every part of the care team to collaborate and improve processes that speed up care. This improvement was due also in part to the use of a mobile app, Pulsara, which puts timely, clear information in the hands of everyone responsible for caring for the patient, both inside and outside of the hospital.

For patients who arrived at St. Elizabeth Edgewood via ambulance, the average time from first medical contact (FMC) — defined as the moment emergency medical services (EMS) first arrives at the patient’s side — to the administration of artery-opening treatment in the hospital dropped 30 percent, from 103 minutes in the first quarter of 2016 to 72 minutes in January 2017. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends aiming for a time-to-treatment of less than 90 minutes because it has been associated with better outcomes for heart attack patients.

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Press
3 min read

What Your Stroke Center Should be Doing for Better Patient Outcomes

By James Woodson, MD on Mar 21, 2017

There's still much to learn about appropriate identification and triage of our stroke patients, but it is also important to understand what we can do NOW.  
A recent article on MedPage Today discussed bridging therapy for stroke patients as a potential tool for improving patient outcomes: 

Bridging therapy made functional independence equally likely for stroke patients transported first to primary stroke centers without endovascular capabilities and peers taken straight to a comprehensive stroke center, a study showed.That strategy of IV thrombolysis within 4.5 hours of symptom onset at one center followed by transport to another where mechanical thrombectomy can be performed within 6 hours of symptom onset was just as likely to produce good functional outcomes 3 months later (modified Rankin scale scores of 2 or below) as transporting patients straight to a thrombectomy-capable center (61.0% versus 50.8%, P=0.26) -- even after multivariable adjustment (P=0.82).

Topics: Stroke
1 min read

It’s About Time: Addressing the Communications Crisis in Healthcare and EMS [Video]

By Team Pulsara on Mar 16, 2017

According to The Joint Commission, 80% of serious medical errors involve miscommunication. Reports indicate that 250,000-400,000 deaths occur every year due to miscommunication, making medical errors the 3rd leading cause of death overall. These numbers are staggering and highlight what is at stake when communication doesn’t work.

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Communication
3 min read

PRESS RELEASE: Duke University Study Finds EMS Activation of Stroke Cases Using Pulsara Improves D2N Times

By Team Pulsara on Mar 14, 2017


[Bozeman, MT] — Mar. 14, 2017 Duke University School of Medicine researchers found that patients with stroke received faster treatment when emergency medical services (EMS) activated the stroke team from the field than patients who presented by other methods of arrival.

The researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of 12 major medical centers that used Pulsara’s Stop Stroke, a mobile application that allows EMS transporting a stroke patient to notify emergency department staff and stroke specialists with the tap of a button on a smart phone. Using data from March 2013 to May 2016, they found cases activated by EMS in the field resulted in significant reductions in door-to-CT scan and door-to-needle times as well as an increased likelihood of meeting door-to-needle goal when compared to cases activated in the emergency department.

Topics: Stroke EMS Press
1 min read

Colorado Springs Facilities Use Innovation to Provide Better Critical Patient Outcomes

By Team Pulsara on Mar 09, 2017

Editor's Note: The following excerpt originally appeared on the Healthcare Informatics website on March 7, 2017, and the article can be read in its entirety here. Pulsara is humbled by the incredible care teams in Colorado Springs who are tirelessly working and innovating to provide the best possible care for their community. A vision without action is worth very little. It is the hard work and dedication of these teams that is truly making the difference in acute care and in the lives of patients.


Hospital physicians and nurses know all too well that time can make a difference when treating patients suffering from a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, gaps in communication between emergency responders and hospital staff is a persistent and common problem and can slow down the process of getting accurate, pertinent patient information from the field, such as the emergency medical technicians and paramedics on the scene, to the hospital staff.

To tackle these challenges, hospitals from two different health systems have partnered with each other and with a dozen local emergency medical services (EMS) agencies to use mobile technology to coordinate their care teams to accelerate time to treatment for critical care patients and to provide better care for stroke and heart attack patients.

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Press
3 min read

Victorian Stroke Tele­medicine Program Allows 15-year-old to Make Full Recovery

By Hannah Ostrem on Mar 07, 2017

Why do we do what we do?

At Pulsara, our "WHY" is to empower TEAMS of caregivers to come together and achieve the best possible outcomes for critical patients as quickly as possible, and with reduced miscommunications and errors.

As clinicians, our "WHY" is to make a difference in the lives of all the patients and their families we touch.

For Pulsara staff and clinicians alike, our "WHY" is also to influence change where change is gravely needed. To move the needle and find new, better ways of treating patients.

One team has truly embraced this mission. The health system in Victoria, Australia, including the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, recently revealed an incredible telemedicine success story:

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Australia
3 min read

New Mission: Lifeline Stroke Documents for Prehospital LVO care -- What You Need to Know

By Kris Kaull on Mar 02, 2017

This past week at the International Stroke Conference in Houston, Mission: Lifeline Stroke released two documents related to prehospital LVO care.

Topics: Stroke EMS
1 min read

Here's What Your Patients Wish You'd Gotten Them for Valentine's Day

By Scott Stanley on Feb 16, 2017

... No, it's not chocolates and flowers.

The medical research community is continually providing us with exciting new technology and clinical findings that can make our jobs in EMS easier and our treatments more precise. So why are we not always sharing these findings with our patients? Well I’m here to tell you, those 80’s parachute pants were great 35 years ago but it’s time to buy some new britches.

Topics: Stroke EMS
4 min read

Pulsara App Version 5.4 Includes New Functionalities and Simplified User Screens [Press Release]

By Team Pulsara on Feb 07, 2017

Bozeman, MT -- Pulsara announced last week the release of their app version 5.4. The company began the announcement by reminding readers of their purpose statement: "Our purpose [is] to improve the lives of patients and caregivers through innovative communication. We care about patient outcomes. Equally, we care about you and the burden you carry as a clinician. Our goal is to simplify your workflows during time-sensitive emergencies. While we're really good at what we do, you're even better at your job. That's why this update is packed full of features requested by you ... the end user."

The 5.4 app version includes key mobile features such as the ability to add vital signs to all STEMI and stroke activations, and lab values to all STEMI activations. The General Patient package included labs and vital signs before this update. Pulsara has also made all interfaces for creating cases and entering patient information more standardized and consistent. 

Topics: Stroke STEMI EMS Press
2 min read

Researchers Find Mobile Communication App Helps Deliver Stroke Treatment 46% Faster [Press Release]

By Hannah Ostrem on Feb 01, 2017

New study examines how Pulsara, an app used by paramedics, emergency rooms and stroke teams, can reduce the time it takes for a hospital to deliver clot-busting drugs to stroke patients.

Currently in the United States, someone suffers a stroke every 40 seconds, and each of those cases relies on getting treatment as fast as possible in order to assure best chances for recovery. Expediting care for these critical patients requires smooth communication between first responders in the field, the emergency room staff, and the specialty stroke team. Unfortunately, this delicate relay is not always well executed, as care teams are patching together archaic technologies such as pagers, faxes, emails, call lists, and other communication methods that do not integrate.

Topics: Stroke Press
2 min read

The Critical Role EMS Plays in Stroke Patient Survival [New Data]

By Brandon Means on Jan 19, 2017

We’ve known for a while now that when EMS providers are properly trained, they perform at a high level when it comes to treating and assessing patients. For example, past studies have shown that paramedics who had formal training in identifying STEMI on a 12-lead ECG could do so with the same level of proficiency as most ED Physicians (1). The same goes for identifying stroke. A similar study showed that paramedics were on par with ED physicians when it comes to identifying stroke using simple stroke scales such as the CPSS or FAST (2). 

Topics: Stroke EMS
1 min read

Your ED Overcrowding is Costing Stroke Patients Brain Tissue

By Brittany Means, RN, BSN on Jan 12, 2017

1.9 million neurons, 14 billion synapses, and 7.5 miles of myelinated fibers — this is what a brain experiencing an acute stroke loses every MINUTE that passes without treatment. Even more compelling, the brain ages 3.6 YEARS with every hour that a stroke goes untreated. It doesn’t require a medical degree to understand why reducing the treatment times of stroke patients is a vital priority for the healthcare community.

Topics: Stroke Healthcare
4 min read

How One EMS System is Working to Improve Care Systems in Time-Sensitive Emergencies

By Hannah Ostrem on Jan 05, 2017

When the concept for EMS was born nearly 50 years ago, it was meant to be an integrated part of a smooth system of care beginning with the call to EMS dispatch and continuing through to definitive treatment. However, EMS-to-hospital communications have faced significant barriers including miscommunications due to archaic and unreliable technologies, issues transmitting ECGs and other patient data, inadequate training in STEMI recognition, and lack of access to patient outcome information for EMS. According to an article published in JEMS this week, recent studies have shown that prehospital notification by EMS improves time to treatment for stroke, however these notifications are not part of a consistent and standardized protocol, and in 25% of cases, EMS fails to alert the hospital of an incoming stroke patient.

Topics: Stroke STEMI Sepsis Trauma Healthcare
1 min read

Treating Wake Up Stroke with tPA: New Data Suggests Feasibility

By Brittney Nelson, BSN, RN, SCRN on Dec 27, 2016

With an estimated 25%, or 1 in 4 strokes considered "wake up strokes," where the patient wakes up to find they've suffered deficits and are unsure how long it has been since symptom onset, it's no wonder treatment of these patients is a hot topic of conversation. Without a known onset time, conventional wisdom suggests we should not treat with tPA. However, A recent prospective study published in Annals of Neurology, challenged this idea and examined the safety of treating wake up strokes with rtPA.

Topics: Stroke
2 min read

Who's On First -- The Frightening Reality of Healthcare Communication

By Shane Elmore, RN on Dec 14, 2016

Who's on First is an original comedy skit that was made famous by Abbot and Costello back in the early 1940's. It's a classic illustration of two people talking, but it's as if they are speaking different languages. The longer the skit goes on, the funnier it gets. It's not that their understanding changes — quite the opposite in fact. They continue the conversation, but neither of them ever realizes where the breakdown in communication is happening.

Topics: Stroke STEMI Leadership
4 min read

Change is Here to Stay: What That Means for Healthcare and the Beloved Pager.

By Shane Elmore, RN on Oct 18, 2016

When it comes to communication in healthcare, do you ever feel like you're playing a game of "telephone?"

One of the most challenging aspects of living in the technological age is the speed of change. There was once a day when the person armed with the most knowledge and information had the upper hand. That's not the case in today's world. Instead, the person or company that can rapidly learn and adjust to changing trends, information, and technology will now lead the pack. Your ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world will be the one skill that separates you from your competition.

Topics: Stroke STEMI Leadership Sepsis Trauma Healthcare Communication