Map to heart health: one French tech startup is getting a boost from health regulation

Staying Alive maps AED locations in 13 languages and several countries

Staying Alive maps AED locations in 13 languages and several countries. [Flickr/Intel Free Press]

The Paris-based health startup AEDMAP was founded two years ago after telecoms consultant Paul Dardel realised there were no services to help people find cardiac defibrillators in public places.

Dardel attended an emergency care conference in the US in 2012 and realised that even there—US laws are among the tightest mandating automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools, offices and other places—there was no database for people to locate a device when they needed one.

AEDs can revive people hit with cardiac arrest in emergency situations.

“We now have an app which maps more locations than American people knew of before,” Dardel said.

AEDMAP’s app Staying Alive is compatible with Android and iPhone smartphones, in 13 languages. The app maps AED locations in France, Switzerland, Belgium, the US, Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. According to Dardel, the company plans to map “everywhere” and already offers a handful of other mapping and consumer healthcare services.

CPR-trained people can sign up as medical volunteers through the Staying Alive app and be dispatched as emergency responders before an ambulance arrives. 25,000 volunteers signed up to the programme this year in France, according to Dardel.

Staying Alive uses Google’s application program interface (API) for its Android app and Apple maps for the iPhone version. The two versions combined have been downloaded one million times.

The company also uses an Internet of Things-enabled tracking system to monitor when AEDs have been manipulated or recalled by the manufacturer.

>>Read: Text messages help treat cardiovascular diseases

Dardel said regulators have helped the startup company, which isn’t subject to rules that affect the medtech or pharmaceutical industries.

“I don’t need approval to create my app, I’m just mapping devices.”

Dardel argued that only a company outside the medtech and AED manufacturing industries could be trusted to map the device locations.

“There are competition issues. This kind of service has to be neutral. Philips can’t provide it. Because do other distributors want their AEDs to be monitored by Philips? No. It has to be a neutral player that provides the service,” Dardel said yesterday (3 December) at the Medtech Forum held this week outside of Brussels.

In addition to his work with AEDMAP, Dardel also consults French telecoms operator SFR on cloud-based healthcare software that protects patient privacy. Healthcare hasn’t warmed up as much to new technology as some other industries, he argued.

“The healthcare industry is probably lagging a bit behind other industries that are much more tech aware,” Dardel said.

While there are a growing number of healthcare apps and technology companies moving into health services, doctors are often slow to take up new technology in their practices.

In some EU countries, there are laws in place requiring AEDs in public places.

The European Parliament passed a resolution in 2012 calling for an EU-wide programme mandating AEDs in set public places. Two months ago, EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc wrote in response to a question from Spanish MEP Josu Juaristi Abaunz (GUE/NGL) that the Commission is considering legislation that would require airplanes in Europe to carry AEDs.

Staying Alive is exploiting the expanding rules to build up its database of device locations.

“If there’s regulation in more countries that requires more maintenance and communication on AED locations, that’s good for us,” Dardel said.

AEDMAP maps on a mobile app the locations of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in 13 languages and in several countries, including France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Around four million people in Europe and 1.5 million in the European Union die each year from heart disease, according to the European Heart Network (EHN) and the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The commonest forms of heart disease are coronary diseases and strokes.

To reduce the number of deaths from heart disease, the European Union has decided to take action on the factors behind cardiovascular health in its 2014-2020 health programme. 

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