St. Francis Hospital implements LifeNet system

St. Francis Hospital implements LifeNet system

7 6 17

St. Francis Hospital, in partnership with Prairie Heart Institute at St. John’s Hospital, recently implemented the LifeNet system. In the event of a heart attack, this technology allows critical information to be sent electronically from the patients through emergency responders who send it to the hospital, enabling the hospital to be better prepared to take care of the exact heart issues patients are experiencing as soon as they arrive.

The goal of LifeNet is to reduce the amount of time it takes for patients who experience a dangerous form of heart attack known as “STEMI” (ST elevation myocardial infarction) to get the care they need by transmitting information from the ambulance directly to the hospital before the patient arrives. STEMI poses a serious threat to the heart muscle, and the quicker patients receive treatment, the more likely they are to have a positive outcome.

“The LifeNet system allows paramedics in the field, St. Francis Hospital ER’s physicians and Prairie cardiologists to focus on treatment decisions and patient care while they system works quietly and effortlessly in the background,” said Dr. Greg Mishkel, interventional cardiologist and executive medical director of the Prairie Heart Institute. “From the onset of symptoms to treatment, time is the critical factor for improving survival and outcomes for these patients. Having this new system will continue to help us beat the guideline of treatment in 90 minutes or less, as recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.”

Using the LifeNet system gives emergency responders the ability to transmit a 12-lead electrocardiogram (EKG) and other emergency information from the ambulance directly to the emergency room at St. Francis Hospital. This technology replaces the practice of faxing the EKG from the ambulance to the ER. The LifeNet technology is much more efficient in sending the EKG electronically to the ER; it can be set up to be transmitted directly to doctors’ cell phones. This means the teams in the emergency department and cardiac catheterization (cath) lab can prepare for the patient’s arrival while the patient is being transported by ambulance, so door-to-balloon time is reduced and the heart muscle can be saved. It also helps save time in the emergency room. To watch a video on how the system works, visit

The system uses the latest digital technology, which is fast and reliable. Through a grant from the Prairie Heart Foundation, St. Francis Hospital has deployed LifeNet adapters with Litchfield, Gillespie/Benld and Hillsboro ambulance services.

“Our local EMS crews service a broad area within our community,” explained Karen Webb, RN/BSN, emergency department manager at the hospital. “They frequently pick up patients in rural areas that are more than 20 miles from the hospital. LifeNet allows them to send high-quality, electronic EKGs directly to the emergency department physician and staff to assist in a quick and accurate diagnosis, which helps save lives. With the EKG sent ahead of the patient’s arrival, the ED and cardiac catheterization lab teams can begin to tailor a specific plan of care before the patient even gets to the department. This helps to reduce door-to-balloon time, saving crucial heart muscle.”

“This is fantastic technology,” said Dr. Michelle S. Alepra, director of emergency medicine at the hospital. “The critical aspect of this process is for patients to understand the importance of calling 911 if they experience any symptoms of a heart attack, no matter how mild or severe. The ambulances now have the ability to transmit information that helps us prepare before the patient ever arrives, which saves time and lives.” The system is a web-based solution that sets up a community-wide STEMI alert system.

 Emergency medical professionals are pictured with LifeNet equipment now used by St. Francis Hospital. Pictured are, from left, Chad Dooley, Litchfield firefighter/paramedic and EMS coordinator; Mat Boston, Litchfield firefighter/paramedic; Josh Ross, EMS director of Gillespie/Benld Area Ambulance Service; Karen Webb, RN/BSN emergency department facilitator at the hospital; and Dr. Michelle S. Alepra, director of emergency medicine at the hospital.