Innovative App a potential game changer in cardiac survival across Wales

31st October 2018

An App with the potential to revolutionise care in life-threatening emergencies throughout Wales, is being launched in partnership with the Welsh Ambulance Service today (Thursday, November 1st 2018).

GoodSAM is a pioneering app and web based platform, which alerts trained and verified Responders to nearby medical emergencies, helping to radically reduce death from life-threatening illnesses such as cardiac arrest.

Evidence shows that response time is a critical factor in cardiac arrest and being able to alert volunteer GoodSAM Responders to quickly attend nearby emergencies, in support of the Ambulance service, will help to save lives.

The highly governed GoodSAM system works by asking Welsh Ambulance Service Staff and Community First Responders, to sign up as volunteer GoodSAM Responders. From today, when a life threatening medical emergency call is received in the Welsh Ambulance Service Control Room or through the GoodSAM app, an alert is sent to up to three GoodSAM Responders who are nearest the incident asking them to attend the scene. The GoodSAM Responders are also able to determine the location of the nearest defibrillator through the GoodSAM AED Registry

The system does not replace the role of the Welsh Ambulance Service, with its own crews continuing to be dispatched and respond in the normal way.

In 2016-17, the Welsh Ambulance Service attended over 5800 cardiac arrests, where resuscitation was attempted in 2832 cases. The UK average shows less than 10% of patients survive. For both trauma and cardiac arrest, the major determinant of outcome is time to treatment, and the sooner effective Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is started, the better the chance of survival. For every minute delay, a patient’s chances of survival fall by 10%*. If a defibrillator is readily available, patients are six times as likely to survive.

By facilitating rapid administration of high quality resuscitation by the community, the impact of GoodSAM is potentially game changing for cardiac arrest survival rates across Wales.

Greg Lloyd, Head of Clinical for the Welsh Ambulance Service, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the GoodSAM team.  It’s a well-established fact that the sooner effective CPR is started, the better the chance of survival for the patient. Getting a defibrillator to someone in cardiac arrest quickly, significantly increases their chance of survival. Working with GoodSAM will give us an integrated approach to alerting our volunteer responders to a nearby cardiac arrest, where they can offer potentially life-saving help. That will, undoubtedly, be a major asset."

“It is important to stress that the GoodSAM system is an additional resource to the emergency ambulance response, and not a replacement for it. Our crews will continue to be dispatched and respond as emergency teams to reports of a patient in cardiac arrest in the way we already do.”

Co-founded by Professor Mark Wilson, Neurosurgery Consultant and London Air Ambulance Doctor, and Ali Ghorbangholi, an Electronic Engineer, Big Data and Cloud Architect, GoodSAM has, since its launch, rapidly grown into a global community operating in over 30 countries and is endorsed by the UK Resuscitation Council.

Professor Mark Wilson, GoodSAM’s Medical Director and Co-Founder, said: “If a patient has a cardiac arrest or a traumatic head injury, it is the first few minutes after the incident that determine the outcome – life, death, or long-term brain injury”. 

“There are first-aid trained people all around us, but usually the first they know of a neighbour having a cardiac arrest is when an ambulance appears in their street. If they could know, and start CPR immediately for even the few minutes prior to the ambulance arriving, the chances of survival for that patient can be considerably increased. GoodSAM now makes this possible, connecting those people who have the skills to the public in their minute of need.”

Ali Ghorbangholi, Technical Director and Co-Founder said: “The technology has already been successfully integrated in UK Ambulance Services such as London, East Midlands and North West Ambulance Service and has more than proved its worth in saving lives. Now the people of Wales are set to benefit from the innovative technology.”

Thanks to funding from the Cabinet Office and Big Lottery Fund, GoodSAM has helped to revolutionise care in life threatening emergencies and it is anticipated the App technology will be operating UK-wide by 2019.

The Welsh Ambulance Service continues to work in partnership with Welsh Government and third sector partners to strive to deliver the Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest strategy in Wales.

How the GoodSAM App works
In a life threatening emergency anyone calls an Ambulance Service integrated with GoodSAM and reports symptoms which are likely to be or become a cardiac arrest, triggers an alert to the GoodSAM platform. GoodSAM is a global community of around 40,000 first aid trained professionals who have downloaded the GoodSAM Responder app and are willing to provide assistance in the first view minutes before Ambulance Service arrival. By harnessing the CPR skills in the community and combining this with the world’s largest AED Registry, GoodSAM is on a mission to save lives following cardiac arrest.

When a GoodSAM Responder receives an alert, using the app they can either accept the request for help or reject it if they are unavailable – attendance is entirely optional and does not affect the Ambulance, which is on its way in the usual way. If they reject the request or don’t respond within 20 seconds, the next nearest Responder is alerted.
The app guides the GoodSAM Responder to the exact location of the patient and identifies where the nearest defibrillator is located.

Once on scene, a GoodSAM Responder can begin performing basic first aid and life support, as appropriate, before handing over the Ambulance Service.

There is a firm governance process in place and all responders are verified before being enrolled on the system. The platform is live across the world and have saved lives globally.
When someone goes into cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces their chances of survival by 10%
A defibrillator is a machine that delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest and there are a growing number of defibrillators available in public places for first aiders to use in an emergency

The GoodSAM app can pinpoint the nearest defibrillator based on known information. Whether a GoodSAM Responder or Alerter, users of the app can add to this Register, making it the most comprehensive and reliable source of defibrillator information. There are over 40,000 AEDs on the system globally. GoodSAM is also home to the world’s first mobile AED tracking system. Many AEDs are not in fixed locations but in the boots of people’s car or carried with them as part of a professional duty. GoodSAM Responders can indicate when they have an AED on them and appear on the system as a mobile AED Responder – connecting nearby AEDs with those who need them in the community.

GoodSAM users add to the GoodSAM Registry simply by taking a photo of the defibrillator in its fixed location and uploading through either the Responder or Alerter app. Users are asked to provide details such as access times and location information. All AEDs are verified before being uploaded on to the system.  They locate and upload them to the app, noting their type, condition and most importantly their accessibility.

*British Heart Foundation Data

For more information or to arrange an interview with the Welsh Ambulance Service, please contact the Welsh Ambulance Press Desk:

For more information about the GoodSAM app, contact Deepti Bal /