How it all began
The analysis of the SLOVak registry of Acute Coronary Syndromes (SLOVAKS) has shown that in managing patients with myocardial infarction (also called STEMI), there are two main causes of time delays: the first one is the hesitation of patients in seeking medical help, and the other one is the fact that many times patients are not directly transported to the specialized centers where the necessary procedure (called PCI) can be performed but they arrive there only by the secondary transportation during which the precious time is lost. To be more specific, the analysis has discovered that more than a third of all PCIs were performed outside the recommended time limit and the median of the total ischemic time was approximately 230 minutes, mainly due to the secondary transportations.
Based on these findings, Martin Studenčan, M.D, PhD., the head of Cardiology Clinic Presov, Slovakia and one of the leading authorities in the field of invasive cardiology in the country, has pondered the way how to minimize the number of secondary trasportations and achieve the direct transportation of these patients to the PCI centers, and also how to reduce the time delays in this so called EMS-to-PCI time period in the early management of myocardial infarction. The solution he has come up with is the telecommunication technology called STEMI – smartphone telemedicine intended for health care professionals.
What is STEMI
In simple terms, STEMI is a smartphone app enabling a remote ECG and voice consultation between a paramedic in the field and a cardiologist in a PCI center. This leads to the earlier establishment of infarction diagnosis and consequently the desired outcomes of reducing time delays and minimizing the secondary transportations are achieved. Dr. Studenčan has elaborated on the idea together with his son Martin, an experienced digital marketing professional, and eventually they co-founded a startup team that began to develop the app STEMI. Ján Puskajler, the founder of PrisonLab, one of the most progressive IT development companies in Slovakia, has played the key role in transforming the idea into the final technological solution.
The testing period of app STEMI took place in 2016, in the Cardiology Clinic of Prešov, and delivered these remarkable results: the proportion of secondary transportations decreased from the average of 32% to 13,5%, and the total ischemic time fell from the average of 230 minutes to 181 minutes. This means that immediately the average of the best countries in Europe has been matched.
Startup Awards Winner
In December 2016, STEMI participated in Slovak Startup Awards and won the first place in the category Society. The startups competing in this category were supposed to demonstrate new technology and business innovation with a strong social benefit. (You can find the STEMI pitch here or read about the event Startup Awards 2016). Since then, the communication technology STEMI has expanded and now comprises also the module STROKE that helps in the management of acute stroke cases. The near future is to bring another expansion in the form of TRAUMA module.
Helping save lives
The greatest milestone for STEMI so far has been its implementation into use in every EMS ambulance in Slovakia and connecting them with PCI and stroke centers in the country, which is a part of innitiative to decrease the number of avoidable deaths of Tomáš Drucker, the former Slovak minister of health. As for today, about 3 000 consultations between paramedics and specialists have taken place via app STEMI since its implementation in September 2017. After 7 months of its use, a survey taken among paramedics showed that 87% of them believe that STEMI is very beneficial or beneficial for the patient. And this is why we do it! We believe that we provide an efective yet simple solution for the problem of long ischemic time in cases of myocardial infarction and stroke. We are committed to constantly improve and do our best to bring the benefit for the patient and help health care professionals in saving lives.