Common to all three hospitals and often described by many more healthcare organisations, were the shortcomings of existing methods of BLS training, which were cost intensive, time challenging and widely variable in terms of delivering consistent competency in staff’s BLS effectiveness.

Time for change

These typical challenges faced by all three hospitals can be summed up by the Mercy Medical Centre. A small critical access hospital comprising two facilities, 25 miles west of Dubuque; of their 1,350 staff members, 800 require BLS certification renewal on a bi-annual basis. Repeated problems that arose with their traditional BLS ‘live’ training classes were: significant no-shows for scheduled sessions irrespective of reminders, limited access and time for room reservations to conduct the classes, never having enough classes or instructors to meet training needs, timetable challenges as a result of part-time staff and shift availability, and a high volume of administrative support to keep the program running. When all these challenges were reviewed in the context of costs, it became a priority to investigate other training methods.

“It was really an easy process”

Following a period of time to evaluate alternative options, all three hospitals adopted the HeartCode BLS solution. An interactive, self-directed eLearning program, the HeartCode BLS training course completes all cognitive requirements for the American Heart Association BLS for Healthcare Providers Course.

To implement the HeartCode BLS program, Boston Medical Centre divided their staff into two groups based on their previous certificate expiration date. This created a December group and a May group. They now offer three 12-hour skills days twice a year. Staff takes the online course during work prior to attending one of these classes, at which they are then required to demonstrate their skills for re-certification. A spokesperson for the centre observed, “Staff evaluation of the new system has been overwhelmingly positive. Its implementation was really an easy process.”

Improved results for the patient, the staff and the organization

Kettering Medical Centre has nearly doubled their resuscitation rates from 14% (already above the AHA benchmark rate of 12%) to 27% after transitioning to HeartCode BLS, while saving nearly $600,000 of their BLS training costs. Boston and Mercy Medical Centres have also cited significant savings, while also reporting consistently achieved higher pass rates from trainees, and a substantial reduction in both administrative support and allotted training time.

Summing up the HeartCode program, a BLS Trainee from the Kettering Medical Centre concluded, “I feel I am more prepared should I need to use my skills.”