Looking Back on our First Year as Iridia Medical

Brand Launch

This month marks a very special anniversary in our company’s history – being one year since we re-branded from Global Medical Services to Iridia Medical. 

Many of you lived some of that journey with us as we shared with you the triumphs and challenges associated with changing to a new brand identity and bringing that identity to life through new marketing materials, a new website and Social Media presence, new building signage, documents, email addresses, and so on.  The sheer amount of work involved in the re-brand was staggering and could not have been achieved without the collective efforts of the Iridia team and others with whom we engaged throughout the journey. 

So what has our first year as Iridia Medical involved?

We kicked off our year under our new brand with the deployment of our Mobile Medical Unit into a remote oil and gas camp in Northeastern BC.  This has been one of our most innovative projects to date and is an industry first in British Columbia. It allows ill and injured workers in these remote camps to receive, in many cases, definitive medical care which enables them to stay in camp and avoid the hazards of transport to another medical facility; particularly at certain times of the year when extreme weather conditions can make emergency evacuation close to impossible.

We also saw Iridia named as a key partner in two public access to defibrillation (PAD) programs – the BC Heart and Stroke PAD Program and the National AED Program Federal Initiative. The BC initiative will see 450 AEDs and associated training delivered to communities throughout BC.  The national program will see a targeted 3,000 AEDs distributed to recreational facilities, mostly arenas, across the country.  The initiative will also see 30,000 people trained in the use of AEDs.  Iridia is a key distributor for each of these programs and we are proud to be involved with these life-saving initiatives.

In recognition of the growth we have achieved in the past few years, Iridia was again named one of Business in Vancouver’s top 100 fastest growing companies for the third year running.  We were also proud to have been included in PROFIT Magazine’s list of Canada’s Top 500 Growing Companies for 2013. 

Finally, our commitment to health and wellness continued throughout the year with, most notably, our participation in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC).  This program is designed to “get the world moving” and that is, in fact, what occurred with 37,432 teams (that’s 262,000 people!) from around the world participating in the 2013 GCC program.  21 of Iridia’s staff participated and some incredible accomplishments were achieved during the 4 months of the program.

Our First Year

The above highlights are just a select few of the key accomplishments we’ve achieved during our first year as Iridia Medical which has certainly been an exciting and action-packed one!  Looking forward, we are energized by the goals we have set for ourselves including expanding our remote medical services program both within and beyond BC, and building on our education and AED programs.  Stay tuned for more!

 

 

Specialist Physicians Realize the Future Lives in Surrey

Mayor Dianne Watts talks to media outside the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey on June 8, 2011.

Mayor Dianne Watts talks to media outside the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre in Surrey on June 8, 2011.

If you talk to people who work in, or alongside, the healthcare industry, you will no doubt pick up a common theme related to physician resources — they are scarce and recruiting them is a veritable challenge. The situation is so serious that attracting specialist physicians is often identified as one of the major threats to success when opening a new hospital or adding additional beds to an existing facility.

It is precisely this contextual backdrop that makes what is happening in Surrey so intriguing.

Physicians are realizing that Surrey has the necessary ingredients to be one of the best places to practice the craft of medicine. Indeed, the historic trend that has seen Vancouver be the bigger draw when compared to communities such as Surrey is reversing as I write.

But, why Surrey? Quite simply, it is the patients. Canadians have made Surrey one of the fastest growing communities in Canada. The population growth has accelerated a healthcare infrastructure investment of over $750 million just in the last few years. Leading the way has been visionary Mayor Dianne Watts and her team, who are helping physicians, like many other Canadians, realize that, per the city slogan, “the future lives here.”

The specific appeal for physicians, in my opinion, is the combination of a unique patient population mix and the following characteristics:

1. A focus on culture

The major driving force bringing physicians to Surrey is the concerted effort to promote a new culture of healthcare innovation and excellence. A significant shift is now underway which is seeing Surrey positioning itself firmly among the traditional major players such as Vancouver General, St. Paul’s and Royal Columbian Hospitals.

This shift from its traditional role as a community hospital will see Surrey become a leading academic centre of excellence with enhanced research, academic and educational opportunities. This shift is attracting not only practicing physicians but also more and more physician learners who, once their training is completed, will plan to set up practice in Surrey.

2. The practice opportunities at the Pattison centre

jim pattison outpatient care and surgery centre

Many physicians have been afforded the unique opportunity to practice in the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre, the first stand-alone dedicated outpatient facility of its kind in Western Canada. What is making physicians so enthusiastic about the Jim Pattison centre? Well like the name implies, only outpatients are seen.

Here physicians can focus directly on the patients at hand without the constant interruptions for emergency and urgent cases that comes when clinics are located within hospitals. This allows a cardiologist, radiologist, or orthopedic surgeon to be highly efficient in the delivery of their care. The design of the Jim Pattison centre was heavily influenced by LEAN methodology, which reduces the inefficiencies in patient flow and maximizes the effectiveness of care delivery. In short more order, less chaos.

3. The Surrey redevelopment and expansion project

A major redevelopment and expansion effort is underway in Surrey including the building of an eight-storey Critical Care Tower on the Surrey Hospital campus. This state of the art facility will add 120 beds to the Surrey campus including much-needed emergency department capacity as well as both adult and neonatal critical care beds. This development is bringing some of the latest technology, equipment and care models to Surrey and the physicians are anxiously awaiting the opening of this new facility.

With the population mix that it has, and the traits outlined above, it is no wonder that Surrey has managed to attract some of the best physicians to the city.

And this certainly bodes well for the future, as in my experience, once doctors begin to practice in Surrey, they often remain committed to the region for their career. With an opportunity to raise their kids in a thriving and vibrant community and to practice great medicine, why would they move?

So while many people from within and around the healthcare industry will make commentary about the challenges associated with securing quality physicians, it is refreshing to have a story like Surrey’s to brighten the picture ever so slightly.

Dr. Allan Holmes grew up in Surrey and has spent the last 20 years working within the Fraser Health Authority in a variety of capacities. Recently he served as the hospital medical co-ordinator of the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Center and his current role is the physician resource planning consultant for the Surrey Memorial Hospital Redevelopment and Expansion Project. Dr. Holmes is also the founder of Iridia Medical, a continuing medical education provider and regional distributor of automated external defibrillators.

Heart Month – Teaming Up to Teach Students to Save Lives!

February is Heart Month and what better way to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Arrest than by helping to bring CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training to the youth in our communities!

In a new initiative supporting our value of corporate social responsibility, Iridia has partnered with the Advanced Coronary Treatment (ACT) Foundation to bring such training into high schools in British Columbia.

The ACT Foundation is a national charitable organization that is establishing CPR and defibrillator training programs in all Canadian high schools as a regular part of the school curriculum. The program is built on a model of establishing community-based partnerships and support, whereby ACT finds local partners to donate equipment – such as training mannequins, AED training units and AED units – that schools need to set up the program. Training is also a key component. Teachers in secondary schools are trained in CPR and defibrillator use and they, in turn, will act as instructors for their students. The aim of the program is to ensure that all youth prior to graduation could effectively treat someone who is having a sudden cardiac arrest.
Until recently, the ACT High School CPR Program has been established in 220 public standard secondary schools throughout British Columbia. Approximately 235,000 students have already been empowered to save lives using CPR skills.

These numbers were increased on 1 February, when eight teachers from Hudson’s Hope Elementary-Secondary School and North Peace Secondary School in Fort St. John participated in the teacher-training workshop. In addition to Iridia’s contribution of AED training units, and funding for the AED training mannequins and program resources, Iridia’s CPR Instructor-Trainer, Jeff Kain, flew to Fort St. John to conduct the teacher training. As a follow-up to the workshop, and as part of the program, each school also received from Iridia an AED so that potential life-saving equipment is on hand in the event of an in-school cardiac arrest emergency.

The training conducted on 1 February will result in 350 students trained annually by their teachers to use these lifesaving skills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9ebDf7C3Ag&feature=youtu.be

“Since our inception, Iridia has been passionate about increasing community access to AEDs and CPR training within BC”, said Vern Biccum, President of Iridia Medical. “The work conducted by the ACT Foundation aligns with this passion, and we are very proud to be collaborating on such a meaningful opportunity that will equip the youth of Fort St. John with the skills and knowledge necessary to save lives.”

With eight in 10 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring at home or in public places, empowering youth with CPR training as part of their high school education will help increase citizen CPR response rates over the long term.

Check out the following links for more information about the ACT Foundation and the recent workshop conducted in Fort St. John.

Act Foundation
News Story – Training Teachers Save Lives
News Story – Learning to Save a Life

BC PAD Program – Iridia to supply British Columbia with 650 AEDs

BC PAD Program

Michael, Julie, Vern, Allan and Tom at the PAD Program Launch presentation

In 1997, a British Columbia mill suffered a heart-wrenching loss when one of its staff members collapsed and died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).    The only remedy for an SCA is the delivery of an electric shock that acts to reset the heart’s electrical rhythms – a shock deliverable by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).   Unfortunately, that shock must come quickly.   For every minute that passes without shock delivery, a person’s chance of survival is reduced by 10%.   In 1997, only ambulance attendants and fire rescue personnel had access to AEDs, and on that day, neither could get to the mill in time with the life-saving AED.

This event, while tragic, led to the formation of Iridia Medical, a BC-based company passionate about broader access to AEDs.  Founded by Dr. Allan Holmes, an emergency-trained physician, Iridia has worked in the intervening years to implement comprehensive AED programs for hundreds of workplaces across the province and throughout Canada.

And then came February 6th, 2013, a particularly special day in our company’s history.

Gathered alongside representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon (HSFBCY), and the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS), our team helped bring forward the announcement that a province-wide Public Access Defibrillation Program initiative was launching.

Kicked off with a highly effective Public Service Announcement and an awareness campaign, the BC PAD Program initiative, funded by the HSFBCY and the Ministry of Health, will see 650 AED units and associated training delivered to communities throughout BC.   The expected impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, will be to “save hundreds of lives”.   Indeed, with increased access to AEDS, each of the 2000 SCA deaths reported annually in BC has the potential to be avoided.   This was exactly the case for Anna Shanh, an SCA survivor, who shared her survival story with those at the launch.  It was a stark reminder for us all that SCA doesn’t discriminate; even the young, fit, non-smoking and non-drinking among us are at risk.

In participating in the launch and seeing the efforts invested to bring it to life, we could not be more proud to be the PAD initiative’s exclusive AED provider.   We look forward to working with communities throughout the province as well as with the exceptional teams at both the HSFBCY and BCAS.    We share CEO Diego Marchese’s view that this has the potential to be one of the best programs in Canada, and we look forward to playing our role in ensuring that it is.

For more information and video about the BC PAD Program, visit the BC Government newsroom: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2013/02/bc-increases-access-to-defibrillators.html

An AED Save is Not Your Regular Routine

We came across this AED save not too long ago. Thought it was a great and inspiring story that deserves to be shared!

Haddad remembers very little of his last visit to Charter Fitness a health club in Hobart, Indiana, on October 30th. What started as a routine workout for the 22-year-old turned into a race for his life.

He remembers working in the free weight area of the club, then trying to reach for the wall right before he collapsed. 

“I couldn’t see and I couldn’t hear. I couldn’t move,” Haddad said. 

Two members quickly responded and informed the front desk that someone had passed out.

AED player down

Assistant manager, Jorge Almedina, quickly began administering CPR while employee, Sarah Gacsy, brought a defibrillator that was used to get his heart started again after it had stopped. 

Almedina called 911, then went back to Haddad to begin administering CPR. 

“He started breathing, but still had no pulse and that’s when an off-duty nurse who was working out here came to help,” Almedina said. 

Once the defibrillator was administered Haddad regained a pulse. Shortly after, emergency medical services arrived and transported Haddad to the hospital for assessment. 

Haddad said doctors there couldn’t find a reason for his heart stopping, but inserted a pacemaker to keep his heart beating regularly. 

“The doctors have told me they have no answer as to why my heart stopped. … I thank those who helped me here very much,” Haddad said. 

For Almedina, who is 21, the incident was an eye-opener. “I’m just glad I was certified and able to react. You don’t expect that to happen especially to someone close to my age,” Almedina said.

Tito Garcia, regional manager for the fitness club, said it’s a requirement that there be at least one employee during all shifts who is CPR and AED certified. 

“We’re just happy a life was saved and ecstatic our employees reacted courageously to save a person’s life,” Garcia said.

Defibrillation 101 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Y8m08y9BvJo]

Setting a Standard for Collaborative Work at the JPOCSC

New to the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre blog series? Check out the introductory post  and part-1 of this series.

JPOCSC Accomplishments

In the second posting in this series outlining our accomplishments at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre (JPOCSC) in Surrey, we will highlight our work in establishing a framework for Fraser Health administration and physicians to work together in a way that embraces the Fraser Health vision of “Better health, best in health care”.

Many businesses and organizations, including our own, ask their employees and contractors to sign a document which outlines the standards and responsibilities of the stakeholders to ensure that all professional expectations are clearly understood by all concerned.

At the Pattison Outpatient Centre, there was an opportunity to port this concept to the healthcare world by creating a Statement of Expectations (SOE) between Fraser Health (FH) administration and physicians to ensure patient-centered care was at the forefront in this facility.

JPOCSC

Working with the Physician Engagement Team within Fraser Health, Iridia helped to develop an SOE outlining the vision of the facility, expectations between physicians and FH administration, and guidelines for the practice of evidence-based patient care.

When the JPOCSC project was first initiated, 175 physicians scheduled to work at the new facility required privileging (and credentialing if new). The privileging process was amended to include two SOEs – an overarching SOE and a program-specific version unique to the JPOCSC. By August 2011, following several months of collaborative communication and dedication, all 175 physicians representing 25 medical programs at the JPOCSC had signed and agreed to the SOE, thereby demonstrating their commitment to the overall vision of patient-centered care at the JPOCSC.

From Iridia’s perspective, the successful development and implementation of a Statement of Expectations at the Pattison Outpatient Centre was a significant achievement and an exciting contribution to the vision and culture of the facility.

AED Giveaway Winner

AED Giveaway 

Iridia Medical is please to announce that the Kopytko family has received the most votes for our AED Giveaway. They collected an impressive 1348 votes! Congratulations on your new AED!

AED Giveaway

We would also like to thank all of the finalists and those of you who voted.

View the winning story:

The Kopytko Family

Our son Mitchell, was born with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, he is now 10. 2 years ago my husband was also diagnosed with the disease. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy is often the cause of sudden cardiac death.

The school that Mitchell attends is not equipped with an AED. As a parent I spend much of my day worrying that if he were to have a cardiac incident it would be too late by the time it was recognized, and the paramedics were called. In an effort to let him have a normal childhood, we often find ourselves in locations that are not equipped with AED’s, school field trips and camp sleepovers.

We have often thought about the benefits of being able to have life saving equipment with Mitchell at all times, and would be forever thankful to have won that piece of mind.

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

 

 

AED Shopping Tips

When buying an automated external defibrillator (AED), choosing a model can be a daunting task. When evaluating a defibrillator, you don’t need an exhaustive background in electronics or cardiac medicine, but with a growing number of manufacturers and a plethora of models and features, how can you know which type of AED will suit your needs?

Keep in mind that all defibrillators do one fundamental thing: they deliver an electric shock that resets the heart’s natural pacemaker and converts an irregular, unstable heart rhythm to a sustainable one. To accomplish this, all AED’s possess three basic elements: a battery that provides energy for the cardiac shock; a main unit that analyzes heart rhythms and generates the electrical charge; and the electrodes, or pads, that deliver the shock to the patient.

These similarities lead some to believe that all AED’s are the same, but there are differences. The features that distinguish defibrillators are component quality, user interface, and innovations in technology.

AED Shopping Tips

Components

Getting to know a few simple details will quickly determine the overall quality of an AED:

  • Better quality AEDs use medical-grade, lithium-ion batteries and do not rely on any secondary source of power to run self-checks or power the unit.
  • Many units use a diagram to show the proper placement for electrodes and the polarity (positive or negative) of each.  The best public-use AED’s simplify this process and use non-polarized electrodes that can be placed interchangeably.
  • Most Health-Canada approved AEDs have been drop tested to just over a meter and are designed to survive rough treatment.

A product specification associated with durability of any electronic equipment is the IPX rating.  The IP Code is an International (or Ingress) Protection Rating and is expressed as IP followed by a two-digit number. The first digit indicates the level of protection against particles such as dust or dirt; the second gives the level of protection from water. The higher the number, the greater the resistance. Every AED has an IP Code which can usually be found in the user’s manual.

Usability

The most visible features that differentiate AED’s are those that indicated ease of use and quality of performance.  As public access defibrillation programs become more commonplace, simplicity in design and use become paramount.  There are a few factors to consider when purchasing an AED:

  • How many buttons (if any) do I have to push for a shock?
  • Are there voice prompts and a display to guide me during a rescue?
  • Will the unit’s prompts assist me with delivering CPR to the victim?

Many units run daily, weekly and monthly self checks.  It is important to purchase a unit that checks issues such as the presence of electrodes, pad connectivity, battery life and wire conductivity as they increase the potential life of your unit.

Time spent remembering or figuring out how an AED works and how to apply the pads can make the difference between a save and a non-save when using a defibrillator.  Features that limit this time are invaluable.

Technology

The most important component of an AED’s design is the technology used to deliver a shock.

There are two methods of shock delivery:  fixed energy and escalating energy. With fixed energy, a shock is delivered once at a given level measured in joules (J), and then subsequently redelivered until there is a correction in the heart’s rhythm. With escalating energy, if the first shock is unsuccessful, the AED progressively increases the energy of subsequent shocks until reaching the maximum allowable number of joules and redelivers shocks at that level.

When purchasing an AED, it is important to find a unit that is not only capable of escalating the shock energy, but of doing so beyond 200J. While an initial shock of 200J is usually successful in an out-of-hospital environment, there are exceptions and escalation above 200J is necessary to maintain success for multi-shock patients. In cases of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), refibrillation is not just common, it is expected… as long as the AED is up to the task.

***

There are some costs associated with buying and setting up an AED. Making an informed purchase decision ensures that the hard-earned money you to spend will give a potential SCA victim the very best chance of survival.