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HCGH and Howard County Fire & Rescue Launch New LIFENET® System

Contact: Jan Hines, 410.740.7899,

COLUMBIA, MD - Thanks to funding from the Howard Hospital Foundation, Howard County General Hospital and Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services are teaming up to bring patients new, life-saving equipment known as LIFENET. The LIFENET system is the first web-based system of its kind; it has the goal of reducing time to treatment for patients in Howard and surrounding counties who experience a dangerous type of heart attack known as STEMI (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction) that poses a serious threat to the heart muscle.

The LIFENET System is a state-of-the-art system that connects emergency medical services (EMS) teams and hospital personnel with emergent patient data. It enables paramedics in the field to alert hospital care teams and provide them with critical patient data so they can quickly identify STEMI patients, determine where to route them for care, and have everyone prepared before the patient arrives, thus reducing time to treatment.

“Emergency medical care is a continuum—it begins with the 911 call and ends with discharge from the hospital; success is dependent on timely intervention,” notes Dr. Matthew Levy, an emergency physician on staff at HCGH and associate medical director of Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services. “We have empowered EMS to make the call to get resources in line. They can be proactive—not just reactive. This vividly illustrates a perfect partnership between a health system and an EMS system—ultimately saving patients’ lives.”

“The launch of the LIFENET System was directly paid for by donations from our community,” says David Powell, Howard Hospital Foundation Chair. “This is a great example of how the Howard Hospital Foundation, Howard County General Hospital, Howard County Department of Fire & Rescue Services and our neighbors in Howard County can work together to bring the latest innovations to our area.”

The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that close to 400,000 people in the U.S. experience STEMI every year. Studies show that when door-to-balloon (D2B) time is 90 minutes or less, patient outcomes significantly improve, and hospital stays are shorter (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2006).

Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine since 1998 is a 238-bed, not-for-profit, health care provider located in Columbia, Maryland. Serving the community since 1973, the hospital has a professional staff of over 800 physicians and allied health professionals, representing 78 specialties and subspecialties; a workforce of nearly 2,000 individuals and volunteer auxilians numbering over 600. Over the past three decades, the hospital has grown into a comprehensive, acute-care medical center that offers a full range of services, from neonatal care and oncology to outpatient treatment and critical care.