GoodSAM: the app helping patients in emergencies

Following a cardiac arrest, a patient’s chances of survival fall by 10 per cent for each minute that they don’t have good quality resuscitation or defibrillation. Survival out of hospital is approximately 8 per cent in the UK, but in areas like airports where defibrillators and trained first aiders are plentiful, survival can be nearer 80 per cent. We want to get this kind of survival across the country, but since such resources would be huge, a different solution was necessary.

GoodSAM is a mobile app and web platform that alerts trained responders (e.g. offduty doctors, nurses and paramedics) to life threatening emergencies close by. It can be used independently via an alerter system but, thanks to Nesta, it also integrates with the emergency services computer aided dispatch systems.

This means that when someone dials 999 and reports a patient as ‘not conscious and not breathing’, in addition to dispatching an ambulance, three nearby responders are also alerted. By arriving a few minutes before the ambulance and undertaking high quality resuscitation this will improve survival from cardiac arrest.

The system is live around the world and being used in many countries including Australia, India, the US, other parts of Europe and South Africa. Organisations (such as St John, Red Cross, the police, fire services, hospitals) can register as organisations on the platform and approve their staff as responders. Thanks to Nesta, the system is integrated with the London Ambulance Service and is being triggered around 20-30 times each day. We have over 8,000 responders in the UK and the platform is now rolling out to other regional ambulance services, and the system is already saving lives.

GoodSAM is a highly innovative group – we have recently released two new features:

  • Emergiscope
    This enables video transmission from the scene to other responders/the ambulance control centre, and it means resources can in the future be more appropriately directed.
  • Life Detector
    By simply placing your mobile phone on a patient’s chest or back, this tool displays record heart and breathing rate. This is much easier than asking the public to check for a pulse.

GoodSAM is revolutionising the immediate management of life-threatening conditions providing trained people prior to ambulance service arrival. With Nesta’s help we plan to grow the GoodSAM community across the UK.


Mark Wilson

Mark is Medical Director at GoodSAM.