Penn Medicine's MyHeartMap Challenge wrapped up a month ago, following an eight week, Philadelphia-wide search for lifesaving automated external defibrillators. Next week, we’ll be announcing the winner of the Challenge, so stay tuned to find out more!
Over 350 people/teams participated in the contest, hunting down more than 1,500 AEDs, in about 800 unique buildings around the city of Philadelphia. AEDs were most commonly located in office buildings, gyms and recreation centers, and schools. Each one of the AEDs found represents fresh chances to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest, which claims the lives of more than 300,000 Americans each year.
The Philadelphia residents who participated in the contest served as incredible informants for our research team, who had previously spent months canvassing the city on foot, capturing photos of only a fraction of the devices that the MyHeartMap Challengers were able to snap pictures of. Now, the team is hard at work analyzing the data submitted by contest participants, and they hope to soon publish the results of the nation’s first effort using crowdsourcing to save lives.
Among their goals, both in Philadelphia and in other cities where future MyHeartMap Challenges will be held: To help the city’s business owners make the devices more visible and accessible – many found were stashed away in basements or closets – and push for consistency in where the devices can be found during the emergency, much as fire extinguishers are in common locations.
“Finding AEDs during this contest was a very hard task – many AEDs, we found, are in places people wouldn’t think to look during an emergency,” says MyHeartMap Challenge director Dr. Raina Merchant, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine. “But we’re so impressed with the creative ways people sought out devices and provided us with information that we’ll now be able to ensure that these devices are in the right place to save lives.”