Remote Monitoring is the Future 

If you are a parent or have had roommates, you know a thing or two about cleaning up messes. Like every good mess, you need the right tool to accomplish the job. You can scrub the wall all you want to get rid of those pen marks, but unless you are willing to repaint, you better just use a magic eraser and be done with it.  

Remote monitoring cleans up the Defunct AED Mess by monitoring AEDs at scale by removing many of the process and people challenges that come from manual inspections. As mentioned in Creating a Culture of First Responders Empowered by Life-Saving Technology, the best solutions to complex problems focus people and technology on their highest and best uses. AED remote monitoring technology, like ScoutRMS from RescueStat, allows technology to do what it does best – mundane repetitive tasks that require precision, without getting tired.  

Too Many AEDs Are Not Ready to Save a Life 

It’s exciting to be a part of an industry that’s focused on saving real people’s lives. Unfortunately, there are too many defunct AEDs that won’t shock when needed most. Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of AEDs in the United States, I put the number in the range of 3-4.5 million AEDs distributed over the past few decades. A large percentage of AEDs are not ready to shock – I’ve seen estimates upwards of 20%. Doing the math means that there could be more than 500,000 AEDs that are not ready to save a life when Sudden Cardiac Arrest strikes. This is abhorrent and I refer to this as the Defunct AED Mess.  

AEDs Are Not Ready Because It’s Hard to Manually Track and Monitor Them at Scale 

AEDs need ongoing monitoring and maintenance. In addition to other issues, AED batteries die and adhesive pads dry out. Manufacturers and best-practice program management recommend ongoing inspections, ideally monthly. However, because people are imperfect and processes atrophy over time, many AEDs are misplaced or not inspected on a regular basis.  

Because components expire and it’s hard to manually track and monitor multiple AEDs, it’s no wonder why so many AEDs are defunct.  

Cost Savings and Stability 

Manual inspections of AEDs are expensive because they rely on physical outputs that don’t scale. The greater number of AEDs, the higher the costs as more people walk and drive around to inspect devices. There are three types of costs to consider when manually inspecting AEDs:

1) variable costs
2) fixed costs
3) opportunity costs

Variable costs increase with each additional unit. This is typically the labor and transportation associated with walking and driving around. Fixed costs increase as you reach capacity thresholds. One person can only inspect so many devices. Eventually another person and vehicle must be added. Opportunity costs are related to the work that isn’t performed that could otherwise be if resources were freed up.  

Fortunately, remote monitoring with ScoutRMS is a low-cost and predictable way to scale AED monitoring. People and technology are both essential to ensure the best outcomes. You should never remove people from AED program management but remote monitoring leverages human effort to focus on highest and best use tasks. Remote monitoring acts as a tool to help you do more with the same number of inputs. Never lose sight of the end goal of your program: to save lives and protect your organization from Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  

Most AEDs Will Be Monitored in the Future 

Forward thinking companies are starting to wake up to the fact that managing AEDs is hard and expensive. This has led to the Defunct AED Mess the industry has on its hands with hundreds of thousands of AEDs that are blinking red or completely dead – an ominous foreshadowing of events if those devices are ever needed to deliver a shock. The risk of lost lives and legal exposure demands a new approach. Remote monitoring is a disruptive technology and the right tool to clean up this Defunct AED Mess and why I believe the majority of AEDs will be monitored in the future.  

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