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November 16, 2009

Study shows discrepancy between CPR provider perception and reality

By Shannon Eliot
EMS1 Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. — Only 29 percent of health care professionals receive regular feedback on CPR performance and less than half work for organizations that provide training beyond the minimum requirements, according to a new attitudinal survey on CPR.

The survey, which sampled more than 1,000 health providers from the US, UK, France, and Germany, is the first multi-national study of its kind and shows gaps between perception and reality of CPR performance by health care professionals. Results were released Monday and respondents included EMS practitioners, hospital emergency physicians, and hospital emergency RNs/NPs/PAs.

In addition, 93 percent of respondents believe training is extremely valuable, with 76 percent willing to participate in additional training. Seventy-five percent agree that CPR technology can help improve CPR quality.

"Hopefully this study will raise awareness that technology is available for CPR feedback and that providers will use it more frequently," said Robert O'Connor, M.D., a University of Virginia Medical Center and CPR Working Group Expert Council member. "It would also be great for the industry to refine the technology, such as having wireless rather than fixed sensors for real-time feedback. The results conveyed that providers want this technology so they can do their jobs better."

Chest compressions, considered to be very or extremely important by 94 percent of respondents, were also considered to be the most challenging aspect of CPR by 70 percent. Ninety-four percent of respondents are familiar with the 2005 CPR guidelines, but only 26 percent reported performing the correct rate, depth, and ratio of compressions.

"A striking finding is how difficult it is for providers to gauge if their compressions are hard and deep enough, and these providers are fairly experienced professionals," O'Connor said. "Because of that uncertainty, most providers desire and welcome feedback."

Because EMS agencies are often strapped for cash, O'Connor suggests reaching out and working with technology providers so personnel can reap the benefits of learning from instantaneous measurements.

"Ideally, this technology will be made available to all who need it," O'Connor said. "If EMS agencies have a way to record a provider's CPR actions, medical directors could review the results on an individual basis, encouraging and reinforcing behaviors that look good and improve ones that could be better."

The CPR Improvement Working Group is comprised of representatives from Laerdal Medical, Philips Healthcare and ZOLL Medical Corporation. It was formed in June 2008 with a mission to work to expand the use of CPR feedback technology by the community, emergency services, and health care providers to help improve skill performance during the administration of CPR.