American Heart Association commits to improving in-hospital cardiac arrest survival through innovative competency improvement solution

Maintenance of resuscitation skills a key element in increasing survival rates

February 24, 2018 Categories: Program News

DALLAS, February 24, 2018 — The overall odds of surviving a cardiac arrest in the U.S. could vary by as much as 42 percent between randomly selected hospitals.1  Research has found that poor quality CPR should be considered a preventable harm, and timely delivery of high-quality CPR is the greatest determinant of survival from cardiac arrest.2 Unfortunately, even with trained professionals, poor quality CPR is common.3 In response, the American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, is addressing the need for alternative training models to support and develop highly skilled healthcare professionals. On February 24, the Association made a commitment to saving an additional 50,000 lives each year at the 6th Annual World Patient Safety, Science & Technology Summit in London, U.K.

The Association is seeking a paradigm shift in hospital resuscitation practice. Advances in technology and evidence now show that low-dose, high-frequency hands on training is significantly more effective than traditional annual or biennial CPR training at increasing and maintaining CPR skills competency. Resuscitation quality improvement initiatives are both necessary and effective at saving and extending lives of in-hospital cardiac arrest patients.4 This shift from a traditional compliance mindset to a resuscitation skills competency approach centered on patient-safety will create a new standard of care, resulting in a transformational, organization-wide resuscitation quality improvement program.

Developed through the Association’s strategic alliance with Laerdal Medical, and launched in February 2015, the Resuscitation Quality Improvement (RQI®) program develops high-quality resuscitation skills through low-dose, high-frequency CPR skills practice, delivering a new standard in resuscitation performance. Validated by actual patient care and survival evidence, lives are being saved.5. Since introduction, approximately 300 hospitals in the U.S. have adopted the Resuscitation Quality Improvement program and the competency of more than 300,000 healthcare providers has been improved.

“Increasing the number of healthcare providers using the Resuscitation Quality Improvement program will save more lives,” says John Meiners, Chief of Mission-aligned Businesses for the American Heart Association. “Approximately 10 minutes of CPR skills practice each quarter helps to eliminate ‘skills decay’ and offer ‘skills mastery,’ resulting in high-quality CPR performance.”

In addition to delivering high-quality CPR, the Resuscitation Quality Improvement program is continuously evolving to integrate additional evidence-based features that can dramatically improve survival as part of a bundle of care. The Resuscitation Quality Improvement Analytics program (currently deployed), combined with structured team debriefings and rapid response teams will help drive excellence in clinical performance.

The American Heart Association’s commitment to saving an additional 50,000 lives each year is based on adoption of Resuscitation Quality Improvement across all U.S. hospitals, combined with strategies to prevent cardiac arrest and implementation of known practices to improve survival. When adjusted for admissions and incidence, the Association believes full, in-hospital adoption of the Resuscitation Quality Improvement program will result in dramatically improved outcomes across organizations.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Tracie Bertaut:, 504-722-1695

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1-242.8721 and


1) Merchant, R M et al. “Hospital Variation in Survival after In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.” Journal of the American Heart Association 3.1 (2014): e000400. Journal of the American Heart Association. Web.

2) Meaney PA et. al. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation quality: improving cardiac resuscitation outcomes both inside and outside the hospital. Circulation. 2013;128(4):417-35.

3) Sutton, Robert M. et al. “‘Booster’ Training: Evaluation of Instructor-Led Bedside Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Skill Training and Automated Corrective Feedback to Improve Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Compliance of Pediatric Basic Life Support Providers during Simulated Cardiac Arrest.” Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 12.3 (2011)

4) Niles, Dana et al. “‘Rolling Refreshers’: A Novel Approach to Maintain CPR Psychomotor Skill Competence.” Resuscitation 80.8 (2009): 909–912. Resuscitation. Web.

5) How to be a Disruptive Innovation Agent: Cole Edmonson Texas Health Resources Dallas