February Innovation – CodeHeart

These days, innovations seem to come in the form of “apps.” A term that means any software made for any device. People have been using apps for years, but they weren’t called apps. Not until the mobile revolution have we been smattered with app this and app that.

As you may have guessed, the latest innovation we wanted to profile was another app. Not to throw it in with the rest, this app is different and could possibly revolutionize the administration of first response medical care.


CodeHeart is the name and it may be on the tip of your doc’s tongue soon. CodeHeart is a wireless app that allows physicians to see ECG and other EMS instrument read-outs in real-time. The display is transmits live video over secure telephone channels.


“CodeHeart was borne out of a desire to get ECG and other readings to physicians quickly,” says Dr. Satler, director of intervention cardiology, and one of the driving forces behind the app.

Prior to the created of CodeHeart, ECG readouts had to be faxed to specialists and the like. These days a fax isn’t quick enough. “The trouble is that this can take up to 10 minutes to send. Given that camera-equipped mobile phones are everywhere, it made sense to see if such information could be sent live by camera phone: Just hold it up, shoot the chart and then send it in for quicker diagnosis and response,” says Satler.

As simple as it sounds, the team working on CodeHeart ran into a few obstacles. At the inception, technology hadn’t caught up with the idea. Cellular data was expensive and phones were unable to send high resolution video in real-time. Fortunately, it was only a matter of time before phones had the specs and the platform to deliver the desired content.

Security was also an issue. Sending patients records wirelessly has raised concerns, and is not HIPAA compliant. (The HIPAA Act of 1996 lays out privacy standards for protecting patient medical information. Sending it by conventional cellular channels is not allowed.)

Fast-forward, and today you have an app that meets all the speed and privacy standards.

“Currently we are just starting to get CodeHeart into the field,” says Satler. “There’s still some reluctance by some EMS organizations to use it, simply because they are leery of how new it is. But I have no doubt that, in a few short years, CodeHeart apps will be in widespread use across North America, if not the world.”

Compared to other medical equipment, applying CodeHeart is simple, quick and most importantly, cheap. Currently there is no listed price, as the app is not yet in any app stores, but it will most likely go for the price of a coffee. Considering this app turns every phone into a portable telemedicine terminal, that’s a small price to pay.


The possibilities are endless. With CodeHeart, every first responder will be able to link to experts all over the world, in real-time voice and video. 

90 Day Fitness Challenge – Confessions

Yes, that’s me. At least that’s the box I used to always check on those medical forms you are occasionally required to fill out in medical offices when asked about your activity level.

90 Day Fitness Challenge

Given that, you can imagine my concern when the Iridia management team began talking about implementing a fitness program, and especially when I was tasked with putting together a suitable plan for our staff. When we signed on with Innovative Fitness for a 90 Day Fitness Challenge, I felt compelled to participate as part of the leadership team, but to be honest, it filled me with a sense of dread. I anticipated repeating all my past failures.

90 Day Fitness Challenge

I was a bookworm when I was a kid, and preferred spending time in libraries rather than on the playing field. As I approached junior high and high school, I became focused on academics, and getting good grades was more important to me than physical activity. High school gym class was a nightmare. I was clumsy, unskilled, awkward, and embarassed by my limitations as compared to my classmates. Thus began my “hate affair” with exercise.

After high school I went on with my life, and since physical activity had never been part of it, I had convinced myself I just wasn’t the exercise type. Every couple of years I’d feel guilty about not exercising and would take out a gym membership or sign up for a class, throw myself into it headlong, and then give up a few weeks in. And, I hated everything about it. I hated gearing myself up for getting to the gym, hated the feeling of exertion while I was there, and generally did not feel those wonderful endorphins everyone always talks about when you’re finished, that make you feel like it was all worth it.

Iridia implemented the Innovative Fitness 90 Day Challenge in January of this year. It required participants to commit to three structured physical activities per week. In addition to that, I had previously signed up with a personal trainer at the gym, taking me from 0 days of activity to 5 per week. The first two weeks were torture. I experienced all those familiar feelings and failings of my past efforts. After the second week I felt ready to give up. A physiotherapist friend encouraged me to push through. She told me week 3 was always the hardest, and if I could get through that, I’d feel differently about it. I didn’t believe her, but carried on anyway. During week 4, I found I disliked the experience slightly less than usual. This may not seem like a big deal to those who are regularly physically active, but for me, it was a monumental shift.

Then I came down with the flu. For two days I was in bed and couldn’t exercise. Fair enough. The third day, I talked myself into needing an extra day to get my energy back and cancelled my gym appintment. The fourth day I was convinced I needed some extra sleep to catch up. But I woke up on the 5th day to a strange feeling. My muscles and joints were achy and sore. I had pains in funny places. I laid in bed trying to figure out what was going on, when I realized that I missed moving! I looked outside. No rain. Gone was my last excuse. So I threw on my runners and headed out for my walk, in the dark of the morning.

That day, instead of being obsessed about how much I didn’t want to be walking, I noticed the sun rise. I noticed the birds singing. I noticed that there was a quickness in my step, and that I was struggling with the effort less than I had a week or two ago. I also noticed that I wasn’t hating it. I looked at my stopwatch as I approached my house and saw that I had put in my obligatory walk time. Then I did something completely crazy and entirely new. I kept walking. I pushed myself for another 10 minutes, just because I could. And something else has happened, quite unintentionally.  I am somehow eating less cookies and more almonds, less chips and more fruit.

At the mid-way point, has the 90 Day Challenge changed my life forever? It may be too soon to tell. I don’t like to look too far ahead because that’s when I get myself into trouble. Taking on too much and then quitting, rather than taking it one step at a time and appreciating the incremental achievements, no matter how small. But not hating – and, I daresay, inching towards enjoying – my morning walks is a milestone for me. At the moment, if I were to fill out one of those medical forms, I could honestly check off the box that says “moderately active”, and that feels pretty good. It’s enough for now.

Surrey Memorial Hospital Redevelopment

Last week we talked about advances in hospital architecture and design in our blog post The Five Star Hospital. The five star hospital is a great concept built around delivering the best possible patient care through non utilitarian means. 

Surrey Memorial Hospital Redevelopment

Why not create a hospital that not only functions well, but also gives patients and healthcare staff a place to feel comfortable? The new Surrey Memorial Hospital Redevelopment and Critical Care Tower aim to do just that. Creating a warm and welcoming facility is one of the key components of the expansion. 

Work is underway on a $512 million expansion and redevelopment project at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The centerpiece of this is an eight-storey Critical Care Tower that significantly continues to grow Surrey’s campus of Care.

The Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH) was built in 1959 and served a population of 50,000 at the time. Over the years, SMH has undergone many transformations to meet the ever increasing demand. Currently Surrey has a population of 440,000 and continues to grow at a rapid pace.

With the help of our team at Iridia, the SMH expansion will address capacity and efficiency, well into the future. We are engaged with this project by providing assistance in the area of clinical and non-clinical physician services. We have led and facilitated meetings and discussions in physician leadership to gather data for projecting the needs of the new Critical Care Tower.

Watch this video to learn about the new Critical Care Tower now under construction at Surrey Memorial Hospital.


Key areas of the Surrey Memorial Hospital upgrade:

  • Upgraded infrastructure
  • Increased capacity of existing units
  • Expanded family birthing unit
  • Expanded pharmacy
  • New lobby

Key areas of the Critical Care Tower expansion:

  • 48 private rooms in a neonatal centre of excellence, with adjacent paediatric pharmacy
  • 25 Intensive Care beds
  • 20 beds for seriously ill patients in the High Acuity Unit, plus six more beds on the same floor 
  • Two medical floors of 36 beds each
  • An expanded laboratory
  • A rooftop helipad
  • More than 440 new parking stalls
  • Additional space for SMH’s clinical academic campus 
The new Emergency Centre is scheduled to open in 2013, while the rest of the Tower will be complete a year later.
Click on the images to see a detailed overview of the SMH expansion and Critical Care Tower.

With the population of Surrey expected to grow by an estimated 9,000 people per year, the SMH expansion is vital to the region.  The expansion and re-development of SMH will mean a significant improvement to patient care in Surrey, and will complement the new Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre.

Kamloops This Week Picks Up Our AED Giveaway!

February has been an exciting month here at Iridia. Our AED giveaway is in full swing and we are thrilled at all the great responses we have received so far. We are very excited at making a difference and being able to give away such an important device as an AED. Heart Month comes, only but once a year, and it is really great to see others taking up this cause and generating awareness.

Here’s the story by Tim Petruk in Kamloops This Week . . .

“Iridia Medical, a leading Canadian distributor of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), is giving away an AED to help raise awareness for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

The promotion is being held in conjunction with February’s designation as Heart and Stroke Month.

In Canada, SCA claims up to 45,000 lives each year, which translates to one cardiac arrest every 12 minutes.

The only effective treatment for SCA is the early delivery of an electric shock by an AED.

Unlike a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage in an artery and requires surgery, SCA results from an electrical malfunction of the heart.

For every one-minute delay in defibrillation, the survival rate of a sudden cardiac arrest victim decreases by seven to 10 per cent.

The major risk factor for SCA is coronary heart disease.

Other risk factors for SCA include a personal or family history of SCA or inherited disorders that makes one prone to arrhythmias, a personal history of arrhythmias, heart attack, heart failure and drug or alcohol abuse.

“Iridia Medical Services is excited about awarding an AED to a deserving winner,” said Tom Puddicombe, director of business operations at Iridia.

“We hope that this contest will generate more awareness about SCA and the value of having AEDs accessible in a cardiac-arrest emergency.”

AED Giveaway

Businesses, organizations and individuals can enter the contest by visiting the Iridiawebsite by Feb. 28 at:

Once there, a form can be accessed on which the entrant can share why they would benefit by winning the AED.

The contest winners will be short-listed by Iridia staff.

Five winners will be posted on Facebook and the public will vote to determine who wins the prize.”

AED Giveaway


Iridia Helps Standardize Burn Care

Among a group of doctors at Vancouver General Hospital, several physicians from our team at Iridia present the first known BC Provincial major burns clinical practice guidelines in an attempt to provide more consistent care for burn patients.

Burn Care

View the guidelines:

BC Major Burn Care Guidelines 

Vancouver Sun, Mon Feb 20 2012, Page: A4, Section: Westcoast News, By: Mike Hager 

A team of doctors from Vancouver General Hospital’s burn unit have created a set of guidelines aimed at standardizing care for serious burn patients throughout the province. “Before our little group got together, there was no unified single message that Vancouver General – as the provincial burn centre – was putting out to other practitioners in the province,” said Dr. Mark Vu, an anesthesiologist who helped shape the new protocol. About 100 severe burns (second and third degree) are treated at the VGH’s provincial burn centre each year, with about 90 per cent of patients coming from outside the Lower Mainland. Many, like those in last month’s Burns Lake mill fire, work in natural resource industries in the north.

The guidelines for standardized care will help those in remote areas of the province who treat patients in the critical first 24 hours as they are being transferred to Vancouver, Vu said. “Because these patients are so complex to manage and because major burns trauma doesn’t happen that often, it’s not something people get that much experience practising,” Vu said. “[The protocol] means that the decisions you’re going to make hope-fully are going to be better.” The new guidelines make it easier for doctors to standardize care, like managing the amount of fluid a victim receives, says Vu’s colleague Dr. Sol Gregory. Gregory said after the landmark 1942 fire at a Boston’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub – almost 500 people died, but the treatment of dozens of burn victims led to advances in care – the medical community realized the importance of rehydrating burn victims.

“Early and aggressive fluid [is important], because once you lose your skin you desiccate,” Gregory said. “Over the past 20 years we’ve realized we actually have gone too far and are giving too much fluid.” Too much fluid can lead to potentially fatal complications like abdominal compartment syndrome, where internal pressure cuts off blood flow to organs like the stomach. The new guidelines, available on a website and in printed form, include items like a chart that helps estimate the extent of a victim’s burns. That will in turn help give a more accurate account of the amount of liquid required. The Clinical Practice Guideline for Major Burn Resuscitation has been adopted by the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health authorities, the B.C. Ambulance Service and the B.C. Trauma Advisory Committee. “When there’s no standard of care . then it’s hard to say, ‘Okay are we doing well? Are we improving?'” Gregory said. “It gives us a way of doing quality control on our treatment and hopefully in the short term it will help people, and that’s ultimately the goal.” 

Original story:

The Five Star Hospital

Patients need much more than just medication and skilled treatment in order to get well. At least that is what recent studies have shown. Coupled with patient feedback, there is strong argument hospital architecture and design plays an important role in the healing process.   

The Five Star Hospital

St. Josef Hospital and Pediatric Clinic in Neunkirchen, Germany recently underwent a major overhaul. From the ground up, the hospital has been redesigned to exude comfort and friendliness. Upon entering the foyer of the new facility, patients are welcomed with warm colours and a waiting area containing piano. 

 Five Star Hospital

The stylish atmosphere doesn’t stop there. The rooms have been given a makeover giving the impression one is home in their living room rather than a hospital. Simple items such as curtains and moveable cupboards give patients a sense of balance and control over their environment. Even equipment manufacturers are applying a little comfort to their designs. They believe it is important for the equipment to not only perform well, but also be pleasant to look at.

“The patients say that they immediately feel as though they’re in a five-star hotel,” reports Dr. Ernst Konrad, Chief Physician of the Clinic for Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine.

It’s not just the patients who are benefiting from the inspiring changes. Doctors and nurses are finding it easier to do their work, and here too the rooms are more comfortable and colorful than those in the previous hospital building. Originating in North America, this trend has been spreading across Europe at a feverish pace. The focus is not only on providing expert medical care but also on creating a feel-good atmosphere.

Are you looking for a decent hospital stay? Well I doubt it… but if you do happen to find yourself in a hospital, you won’t have to look far for comfort. Iridia is currently working with British Columbia’s largest health authority, Fraser Health in developing the new Critical Care Tower at Surrey Memorial Hospital. The $512 million investment is the largest ever in the Province of B.C. in a health care facility.

Similar to St. Josef in Germany, the new Critical Care Tower will focus on delivering a welcoming space to all patients and staff alike.

These artists’ renderings are sure to please the eyes.

Five Star HospitalFive Star Hospital

Stay tuned, as next week we will be posting a full overview of the new Critical Care Tower, the layout, service offerings and timeline for opening.

Why You Need Access to a Defibrillator

Our mission

“Iridia is dedicated to preparing and empowering everyone to respond to adversity. Our mission is to ensure that people have the training and preparation they need to mitigate any emergency they encounter and the ability to move on afterwards secure in the knowledge that, when decisive action was required, they answered with the very best versions of themselves.”

How does a defibrillator help?

Defibrillators are the only treatment for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), a leading killer of both men and women worldwide.

Who needs access to a defibrillator?

SCA can affect anyone, at any time, in any age group. Believe it or not, there are is wide variety of situations and locations that are in need of an AED.  Do you work in a hotel, airport or casino? Do you go to school? Or do you live in a high-rise building? These are all high-risk areas that should be equipped with an AED.

Reasons to have a defibrillator:

  • Hotels are vulnerable to SCA incidents due to the high concentration of guests staying at the hotel every day.  The changing demographics of guests as well as their unknown ages and health concerns are all the more reason to implement an AED program into a hotel’s health and safety program.  In addition to hotel guests, a large number of people attending conventions, meetings and special events are also on the hotel property at any given time.  Having an AED in your hotel gives patrons the peace of mind that where they are staying, safety is a top priority and a marquee issue
  • Hotels also employee many staff.  Your employees spend more time on site than any guest.  Having an AED program in place will assist in protecting your most valuable assets
  • Having AEDs in lobbies, meeting rooms, banquet halls and fitness centers can make a difference in a cardiac arrest situation
  • A recent study outlined in the New England Journal of Medicine reveals that when security guards at casinos were equipped with AEDs, SCA survival rates soared to 74%
  • Having an AED in your restaurant gives patrons the peace of mind that where they are eating, relaxing and enjoying their time away from home, safety is a top priority and a marquee issue
  • The AHA (The American Heart Association) recommends defibrillation for SCA victims within 3 to 5 minutes of collapse. The Canadian benchmark response time for an ambulance is 8 minutes and 59 seconds
  • Nearly 60% of all sudden cardiac arrests are witnessed, so if an AED is nearby, chances the victim will receive timely defibrillation is improved
  • It is expected that one in 25 schools can expect a SCA incident each year
  • A school AED program will help protect not only the students of the school, but also the adults present on the grounds on a day to day basis. These individuals potentially include teachers, teachers’ aides, custodians, office staff, administrators, reading specialists, parent volunteers, visiting parents and family volunteers
  • There is a chance emergency medical services (EMS) cannot respond fast enough to save someone in cardiac arrest, particularly in congested urban areas, high-rise buildings, in remote rural areas, or large facilities
  • What are the most likely places to have SCA events occur? Some studies have shown a higher incidence in certain locations, listed below:
    • Airports
    • Community/senior citizen centers
    • Dialysis centers
    • Ferries/train terminals
    • Golf courses
    • Health centers/gyms
    • Cardiology, internal and family medicine practices, and urgent care centers
    • Jails
    • Large industrial sites
    • Large shopping malls
    • Nursing homes
    • Private businesses
    • Sports/events complexes



Sun Peaks – Emergency Medical Responder Protocol


Currently, Iridia is working with Sun Peaks Fire Rescue in the development of an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) protocol.   Emergency Medical Responder Protocol Sun Peaks was one of two B.C. fire departments chosen for a pilot project allowing firefighters to … Continue reading