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September 03, 2014 10:00 PM

Drill Tests Cardiac Health System In South Dakota

Redfield, SD

Getting you quicker life-saving care was the purpose of a drill which started in Spink County Wednesday organizers said.

During a cardiac arrest drill, workers with a consulting firm assessed the way different hospitals and other emergency facilities communicate patient information with each other.

From an ambulance to a hospital, to another ambulance to another hospital, there can be a lot of stops along the way during a medical emergency. There can also be a lot of information gathered or treatments given at each location.

"How are they all talking to one another to get that data for that one patient," exercise director Brenda Granillo said.

Whether in an ambulance or an emergency room, modern technology is helping medical professionals receive important patient information quickly. Thanks in large part to grants from the Helmsley Charitable Trust and other sources, many rural South Dakota communities are equipped with that modern technology.

Information that technology provides adds to data obtained by doctors on site. Granillo says Wednesday’s drill could help find ways to streamline all that information to one location more quickly. It tested ways information sharing is already happening and looked for areas that need to be further developed.

"Projects such as these are really important as far as fostering partnerships which are really intrical to improving healthcare and access to healthcare in South Dakota, particularly in rural South Dakota," Halley Lee, administrator of the South Dakota Department of Health's Office of Rural Health said.

Matthew Owens has been a doctor in Redfield 15 years. He says technology added to rural parts of the state helps save lives thanks to support and information being available more quickly.

"Not only that, I think improved outcomes," Owens said, "not just life-saving but improvement as far as morbidity and mortality."

Organizers want lessons learned in the drill to help care for patients in South Dakota and elsewhere. Organizers have conducted drills in North Dakota as well and will move onto other Midwest states.

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