Why Colorado’s New Bill HB22-1251 is Major & Who Should Be Following Suit
The Importance of SCA Data Tracking
On July 1, 2022, Colorado House Bill 22-1251 went into effect, which establishes the first statewide office dedicated to tracking Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) data in the country. HB22-1251 is an initiative to help Colorado collect comprehensive data, raise awareness for and improve survival rates from SCA. We sat down with Lynn Blake and Jillian Moore, two key backers of this legislation, to hear more about the importance of this bill, what inspired them, and how they hope to influence other states to adopt similar programs.
In order to improve SCA outcomes and move the needle on a dismal survival rate that has largely stayed the same, at 10%, over the last two decades, we need to better understand what is happening during instances of SCA in communities across the country. Data tracking is a huge gap in our current cardiac arrest response system.
Contrary to what you might assume, SCA data tracking is rarely implemented in community health programs and is non-existent on any meaningful widespread level. Lynn and Jillian are on a mission to change this, and the movement begins in Eagle County, Colorado.
Lynn Blake, a SCA survivor and the founder of a related non-profit organization, spearheaded the ten year project that led to HB22-1251 and the establishment of the Colorado Office of Cardiac Arrest Management. Creating her non-profit made Lynn aware of two major problems in the SCA sector:
- a dearth of available data and, worse,
- the absence of any agency streamlining and prioritizing SCA data collection
She explains, “What I found was that when I was applying for grants for SCA awareness and AED programs, people would say ‘Where’s your data?’ and I would think, well, I don’t know, let me go to the county.”
Lynn found that neither Eagle County nor the state of Colorado had any data on SCA.
Unfortunately, this problem is not unique to Colorado. “Seeing that nobody was tracking the data made me realize that, really, the efforts needed to begin with data collection because if we don’t know what we’re trying to improve, then we can’t improve it. So we really had to be able to measure that information before we could think about delivering better solutions,” says Lynn.
Soon after, Lynn got involved with CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival), a Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Emory University collaboration that works with EMS agencies and medical institutions in 37 states to track, report, and collect SCA data. Jillian Moore is the CARES National representative who worked with Lynn to implement the registry in Eagle County and then statewide across Colorado.
CARES collects 32 data elements after each SCA and compiles it in an organized database– the registry tracks everything from return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) information to rhythm type, from patient demographic information to hospital outcomes to location of arrest.
Their goals for the bill are twofold. According to Jillian, the more immediate and obvious objective of HB22–1251 is to, “have the state collect data relating to Sudden Cardiac Arrest and create more educated communities.” The more long term, overarching goal, however, is to have other states start to implement similar initiatives, so that one day each state has its own Office of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Management working with CARES.
A lack of SCA data contributes to and perpetuates many problems, the most pressing of which is an inability to assess the effectiveness of current emergency response programs and treatments. Without any data, it is impossible to measure how well an approach is working. Having no streamlined system of SCA data collection also prevents communities from gaining insight into patterns and gaps in their current systems, which could be helpful in better understanding SCA and improving outcomes.
Dr. Benjamin Abella, a top American physician and Sudden Cardiac Arrest researcher, breaks down the problems with our country’s current approach to SCA, which is one that does not prioritize collecting and reporting data on any major scale–statewide or nationally.
Data relating to a SCA is not only useful for understanding larger trends, but accessing case-by-case data is essential in guiding individual treatment plans after an SCA occurs. “The initial rhythm is crucially important for a number of key decisions that come next. To have the data of timing, when CPR was delivered, how many shocks were delivered…these are very important and useful for things we do in the hospital,” shares Dr. Abella. With the way SCA is treated today, this information is seldom made available to the doctors who treat patients once they arrive at the hospital.
From the nonprofit perspective, Lynn sees the unavailability of SCA data as contributing to a lack of funding for this condition, “There’s very little funding, compared to cancer, for instance, that goes toward just cardiovascular disease in general. With SCA, there’s virtually no funding at all.” Simply put, she says, “The reason why there’s no funding is because there’s no data. That’s why [SCA] is not receiving dollars at this point. There’s no data.” Therefore, compiling more comprehensive SCA data may also help with general awareness and fundraising efforts.
At Avive, we are greatly excited about what HB22-1251 means for Colorado and the country at large. This legislation paves the way for other states to follow suit, and establishing a statewide office to track and distribute SCA data is the first step in demystifying the disease, raising awareness, and garnering funding to support SCA research and improve response efforts.
We are doubly excited because we believe that our device has the opportunity to positively impact data tracking and collection efforts. The Avive Connect AED™ is the first and only AED fully integrated into 911 call centers. We enable fast bi-directional data sharing between 911 telecommunicators and the Avive Connect AED to improve situational awareness and streamline response. Stay connected so that you won’t miss a beat as we bring our reimagined AED to market.
Learn about AED State laws in Colorado.