PGA of BC Partners with Iridia

Press release from the PGA of BC:

The Professional Golfers’ Association of BC is pleased to establish a new business relationship with Iridia Medical. The PGA of BC and Iridia will be working closely together to create programs and promote safety at golf facilities throughout the province. GMS, a new “Preferred Partner” of the Association, will be offering PGA of BC member facilities “preferred rates” on various products and services related to safety and cardiac care. More details at www.pgabc.org  benefits section.

“Iridia is very pleased to partner with the PGA of BC and its members. We are committed to safety and in particular safety on the golf course and throughout golf course clubhouses. 45,000 Canadians die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, and we at Iridia Medical are working very hard to change that”, says Thomas Puddicombe, Business Operations Director.

PGA of BC Golf cardiac arrest

“We are thrilled about this new partnership with Iridia Medical. We feel that all PGA of BC facilities should be properly prepared with the most up to date safety equipment of their members and guests on a day to day basis. The PGA of BC will promote GMS and encourage member facilities to take advantage of Iridia Medicals’ special offers and promotions throughout the year” says Donald Miyazaki, Executive Director of the PGA of BC.

About the PGA of BC

The Professional Golfers’ Association of British Columbia is an association comprised of more than 650 golf professionals who work at and operate golf courses, driving ranges and other facilities across the province.  Their mandate is to promote and advance the game of golf, serving the needs of both its membership and the golf public through professional and junior golf development programs and high-calibre competitive events. The Zone Office is located in Richmond, BC.  For more information, visit www.pgabc.org.

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About Iridia Medical

Iridia was founded in 1998 and became an instant pioneer in the implementation of AEDs in British Columbian workplaces.  Through our initial experiences in deploying AEDs, we have expanded into medical education and consulting, becoming one of Canada’s leading companies in the area of health and emergency preparedness.

AEDs, are a core passion for us. Our goal is to see as many AEDs placed in public and private settings as possible in an effort to save more lives.  Iridia has completed over 1,700 AED installations and our client base is drawn from of a cross-section of industries.

What is an AED Program?

The Impact of Cardiac Arrest

In Canada, 35,000 to 45,000 people die of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year. Unlike a heart attack, which is caused by a blockage in an artery, SCA results from an electrical malfunction of the heart. The only effective treatment for this condition is the early delivery of an electric shock by an automated external defibrillator (AED). Response time is critical; for every minute of delay in delivering the shock, survival rates for SCA victims decrease by 7-10 percent.

cardiac arrest survival

The Solution

Recognizing the link between increased survival rates in SCA victims and the prompt use of a defibrillator, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) has recommended that all Canadians:

  • Have widespread access to automated external defibrillators.
  • Be trained and encouraged to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and AED skills when needed.

When applied to the workplace, these recommendations entail implementing a program that makes AEDs readily available and ensures that staff are well prepared to use them when needed.

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Our AED Program Process

Iridia provides an AED Program that includes three indispensable components:

1) The AED device, associated accessories, and servicing

Iridia is British Columbia’s sole distributor of LIFEPAK AEDs and we are a regional distributor of Powerheart G3 Plus AED. Both manufacturers are renown for their use of leading-edge technology, the reliability of their units, and after purchase service provided.

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2) Initial and ongoing training

Managing a cardiac arrest involves more than merely “pushing the button” on an AED. Respondents must be able to recognize an arrest, perform CPR, and use a defibrillator properly. Our AED training workshops ensure that participants are able to respond effectively when the time comes.

3) Medical direction (a WorkSafeBC recommendation)

Iridia provides a medical direction package, consisting of the following components:

  • Emergency medical response procedures
  • Emergency Health Services liaison
  • Operational debriefing
  • Post incident call review
  • Physician consultation
  • Critical incident stress referrals

Our medical direction package is designed to maximize the value of your AED, and exceeds the recommendations from WorkSafeBC, the HSFC, and Health Canada.

Our Company

Since 1998, Iridia has overseen the training and certification of over 10,000 lay rescuers in the use of AEDs. Dr. Allan Holmes, a fellowship-trained Emergency Physician, is an expert in pre-hospital care and has worked extensively with Occupational First Aid Attendants, fire rescue personnel and the BC Ambulance Service. We currently provide medical direction to over 300 clients including 140 fire departments throughout the province.

Creativity Strikes Again – Iridia Day 2012

What is Iridia Day?

Iridia Day is based on the concept of “FedEx Day”, an innovation immersion event from software developers, Atlassian.

Years ago FedEx decided to give their employees a designated amount of time to explore possibilities and opportunities for the future of the company and to brainstorm, and pitch their ideas.

Global Days

It was so successful in generating fabulous ideas, they now do it quarterly, and many other successful companies have followed suit, trying variations of the idea.

Their concept is called “FedEx Day” because the goal of their 24-hour blitz was for participants to originate, develop, and deliver new products, new services, or business process improvements overnight.

Iridia Day 2012 (held in December) was Iridia’s second FedEx Day event, building on last year when two teams came up with some pretty innovative ideas for new service offerings for Iridia, and had a lot of fun doing it.

Why?

  • Events like this foster creativity – when there’s no rules, anything’s possible.
  • Every employee has ideas – this is an opportunity to share those ideas in a creative and supportive environment.
  • A spotlight and traction for crazy ideas – nothing is out of bounds so creativity flows.
  • It’s just plain fun – playing with team members creates a fun team-building atmosphere.

innovate

IRIDIA Day Theme

The theme for this year’s event was Living Our Values. Some of our values at Iridia are easy to see in practical ways. Lifelong learning, innovation, social responsibility, teamwork, and client focus, are all things that can be seen in many of our day-to-day interactions.

Our remaining three values however, are not so easy. Out of our seven core values, honesty, professionalism and quality are the most difficult to put on display.

For Iridia Day 2012, we decided to assign a group to each of these values, to brainstorm how exactly, we can bring these values to life at Iridia.

vision

This year, the teams threw everything on the table, and then as a group, presented their ideas to the rest of the staff during our January staff meeting. Now all that is left is to select a winner. Deliberation is currently underway. We will keep you posted when a winning team has been selected!

Cardiac Arrest and Marathons – Don’t Take Off Your Running Shoes Just Yet

Marathon runners have been making headlines more and more in recent years. Not because of the times they put up, but rather the dramatic images of runners collapsing and in some cases, dying during or right after an event.

Should you stay out of the race? Not so fast. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that if you want to go the distance, go ahead – as long as you don’t have a pre-existing condition.

The study looked at nearly 11 million runners who took part in marathons between 2000 and 2010.

By scouring media reports and checking with medical staff of races, the researchers discovered 59 cases of cardiac arrest, where a runner became unconscious with no pulse during the race or within an hour of finishing. Unfortunately forty-two of these runners died, and 51 of the 59 cases happened in men.

The overall figures translate to 1 cardiac arrest per 184,000 participants and 1 death per 259,000 participants, the researchers said. Those numbers are low compared to other athletic activities, as shown by prior studies of deaths in college athletes, triathlon participants and previously healthy middle-aged joggers, researchers said.

“You hear about this more and more,” said Dr. Aaron Baggish, senior author of the study.

Cardiac Arrest and Marathons

One of the reasons we have seen an increase in the number of collapses is due to an increase, overall, of runners who are trying to push themselves to stay fit, giving the illusion that cardiac arrest is on the rise amongst runners.

“More cases showed up during 2005-2010 than in the preceding five-year span, but that’s just because more people are participating in the races,” Baggish said. More worrisome was the finding that among male marathoners, the rate of cardiac arrest per 100,000 runners was higher during the latter half of the decade than in the first half.

Baggish thinks that’s because of a shift in attitudes about who can run long distances. Even a decade ago, 26.2 mile marathons were considered appropriate only for very athletic people, he said. But more recently people have come to think of it as “something anyone can do,” and even as a healthy activity for lowering the risk of heart disease, he said. So it has attracted people with a family history of early heart disease or early deaths. “These are just the people who are likely to get into trouble,” says Baggish

In the 31 cardiac arrests for which researchers could find a cause, most were due to clogged hardened arteries or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a sometimes inherited condition in which an unusually thick heart muscle can interfere with the pumping rhythm.

According to Baggish, most of the victims were unaware of their pre-existing conditions, so he would encourage aspiring and experienced runners to talk to their doctors about heart risks associated with distance running.

American Heart Association Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, president of the , called the study “reassuring” for finding so few cardiac arrests. “For most people, running a marathon, if you are so inclined, is a reasonably safe proposition,” he said.

Tomaselli, a heart specialist at Johns Hopkins University, also said runners should pay attention if they feel chest pain, dizziness, light-headedness or unusually short breath or rapid heartbeat while running. “You should listen to your body,” he said.

“We don’t want to alarm people about marathon running. The benefits of exercise are well established” said one of that report’s authors, Dr. Navin Kapur of Tufts Medical Center in Boston. The report shows even seasoned marathon runners can have heart disease, something paramedics should keep in mind if a runner shows suggestive signs, said Kapur.

Recent Changes at Iridia Prepare Company for Future Growth

Every young entrepreneurial company reaches a crossroad when it must position itself for long term sustainable growth. Our company reached that pivotal point toward the end of 2012 when Vern Biccum took on the role of President and Dr. Allan Holmes assumed the title of Founder.

When Iridia was founded in 1998 by Dr. Allan Holmes, he represented the entire workforce. Today, we have grown to include four divisions, each with its own team of staff. Indeed, things have gone well. We have been one of the province’s fastest growing firms for two years running, and have been very fortunate to see demand for services growing.

So why introduce a change?

We believe that all progressive companies make time for introspection. Honestly assessing the way in which a business is run, and confronting the reality of the findings is both healthy and prudent. When we assessed Iridia, the words of Good to Great author Jim Collins rang in our ears. He advocates strongly for having the right people on the bus (read “in the company”), and then figuring out where they should sit (read “what role they should fill”). Applied to Iridia, we recognized that we had selected members of our senior team that could benefit from a seat swap.

 


With more and more operational demands being made of Allan’s time, he wasn’t able to focus as much energy on his areas of expertise and passion. In the Founder role, Allan will be able to redirect his energies to these foci while Vern will apply his business acumen and strategic leadership to the running of the firm.

“This role change represents a natural transition which has been planned for the past couple of years”, says Allan. “I can provide much more benefit to the company by focusing on select areas such as Physician Engagement services and clearing the way for Vern to implement our long term growth strategy. It will also allow me to continue building a physician network and consulting team for the company.”

“We are leveraging our unique skills and interests to further build the company’s infrastructure and foundation,” says Vern. “Allan gets fired up by the challenges of healthcare and I want to make Iridia one of the top 100 companies in B.C. to work for. Allan will continue to support the business units at Iridia as his time allows. I see my challenges as focusing more on the actual organization, which includes helping our staff become more strategic and financially literate. I have a five-year plan to achieve these goals.”

Growing City Helped Reduced Our Corporate Footprint

Social responsibility is one of our core values at Iridia – and to do business more responsibly, we made a decision to proactively compost much of the waste produced at our Vancouver office. To achieve this, we partnered with Growing City to reduce our carbon footprint. 

One of the benefits about working with Growing City, is that they send you regular updates about your personal carbon reduction. In only 23 weeks of corporate composting, we have diverted 345 kilo’s of waste that would have otherwise been sent to a landfill.

Check out the diversion update from Growing city below to see what 345 kilo’s of waste looks like:

Growing CityThe Diversion Update is a cumulative record of the amount of waste our company has diverted since starting service with Growing City. The record is based on averages relating to bin size and pick-up frequency.

We look forward to continually reducing the amount of waste produced by our office and our continued partnership with Growing City.

Learn more about Growing City and how you can reduce your corporate footprint.

What Will the 2013 Flu Season Bring?

Before we get into this season’s flu trends, it’s worth learning a little bit about influenza.

What Is Influenza?

Influenza refers to illnesses and symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, caused by a number of different influenza viruses. Typical symptoms are fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches, chills and fatigue. Annual outbreaks of seasonal influenza usually occur during the late fall through early spring.

Have a look at our post: Seasonal Influenza, A Helpful Reminder to learn how to protect yourself influenza and what to do if you become sick.

2013 Flu Trends

2013 Flu Season

2013 flu season (dark blue) compared to the past six years.

By looking at data gathered by Google so far this year, we can see that 2013 is beginning to look like one of the worst flu seasons in recent years. Compared to the previous 6 years, this season is only overshadowed by the 2009 H1N1 outbreak. Unfortunately, it is still to early to determine if flu cases will continue to rise.

By using millions of data points, Google Flu Trends is able to determine (with a high-level of accuracy) how big of an impact the flu is having on a seasonal basis.

This data is important because it can show flu queries in real-time, often weeks ahead of reporting agencies.

Flu season

Comparing flu search results throughout Canada.

How does Google Flu Trends Work? (excerpt from Google)

Each week, millions of users around the world search for health information online. As you might expect, there are more flu-related searches during flu season, more allergy-related searches during allergy season, and more sunburn-related searches during the summer.

Flu trends

Google Flu Trends compared to Public Health Agency of Canada records.

We have found a close relationship between how many people search for flu-related topics and how many people actually have flu symptoms. Of course, not every person who searches for “flu” is actually sick, but a pattern emerges when all the flu-related search queries are added together. We compared our query counts with traditional flu surveillance systems and found that many search queries tend to be popular exactly when flu season is happening. By counting how often we see these search queries, we can estimate how much flu is circulating in different countries and regions around the world. 

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As you can see, Google Flu Trends is a very powerful tool that can predict the severity of the upcoming flu season with frightening accuracy. Given the intensity of the flu in 2013, it is as important as ever to get vaccinated. Learn more about vaccination here: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/im/vs-sv/vs-faq17-eng.php

Go explore Google Flu Trends yourself!

 
 
 

Question: What is Physician Engagement?

Answer: Physician Engagement is a better means to draw from one of healthcare’s most highly trained and expensive resources.

Engaging a fluid pool of independent contracts is tricky task for even small organizations, so it is easy to understand why large health authorities who are appropriately dedicated to service delivery have a hard time including the perspective of physicians in its planning. Engaging any staff member, contracted or salaried takes time, energy and financial resources.   This creates a natural tension in the decision making process on where to allocate healthcare resources: do we spend it on actual service delivery or on internal improvements?

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The answer is simple, you spend it on both.  However, the spending has to be done critically and effectively.

Physicians are critical members of health care delivery systems. They are well-educated, highly compensated, and adopt key decision-making roles on clinical teams. Unfortunately, they often also constitute a fluid pool of independent contractors that are rarely easily engaged in key planning projects. Without engagement of these key stakeholders, many health improvement projects face significant risk of unnecessary challenges and possible delays.

Unnecessary challenges and possible delays impact service delivery, which inevitably results in wasted healthcare resources.  Front line healthcare professionals, including physicians need to provide that on the ground insight and feedback on the service delivery.

In our view, physician engagement is best led by physicians. In response, we have assembled a team of clinicians from a cross-section of specialties. They not only relate to the physician journey, but they also understand the physician mindset and appreciate how the doctor role fits within the overall care delivery system. Our physician leaders look to identify values and beliefs common to physicians and to the broader stakeholder group. From this foundation, specific mechanisms for, and the timing of, the engagement are identified. This approach ensures that physician teams are meaningfully engaged in a sustainable manner.

We’ve taken a classic stakeholder engagement mechanism and tailored it to get a better feedback loop for improved healthcare service delivery.  Imagine a healthcare service built by a team, that includes the perspective of all key resource, who wouldn’t want that?