Evaluation of M-AID, a first aid application for mobile phones.
BACKGROUND: When performed effectively, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by bystanders reduces mortality due to sudden cardiac arrest. Telemedicine applications offer a means by which bystanders can get specific instructions for handling the emergency situation. M-AID, a first aid application for mobile phones, uses an intelligent algorithm of 'yes' or 'no' questions to judge the ongoing situation and give the user detailed instructions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the benefit of this mobile phone application in a scenario of sudden cardiac arrest. METHODS: One hundred and nineteen volunteers were assigned at random either to the test or the control group. All participants were confronted with the same scenario of acute coronary syndrome leading to cardiac arrest. The participants were either equipped with a mobile phone running the software (test group) or had to handle the situation without support (control group). The participants received a certain amount of credits for each action taken according to a pre-defined protocol and these credits were added to a score and compared between the groups. Participants were divided into subgroups according to their medical and technical experience. RESULTS: The test group generally achieved a slightly higher average score that was not statistically significant (21.11 versus 19.97; p=0.302). In contrast, the performance of the individuals in the control group was significantly faster (2.41 min versus 4.24 min; p<0.001). Use of the mobile phone software did not enhance the chance of survival. Subgroup analysis showed that experienced mobile phone users performed significantly better than non-experienced individuals, but not as well as participants with advanced first aid knowledge. CONCLUSIONS: Experience in the use of mobile phones is a prerequisite for the efficient use of the tested M-AID version. This application cannot replace skills acquisition by practical training. In a subgroup with experience in mobile phone use and basic knowledge in CPR, the device improved performance of CPR.