The OHCAO project has established a database which brings together for the first time information about people throughout the UK who sustain an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) with a view to improve survival.
Improving patient outcomes from OHCA is a key priority for the NHS1. To identify the key characteristics contributing to better outcomes in some ambulance services, reliable and reproducible systems need to be established for collecting data on OHCAs in the UK. The aim of this project is to establish a national OHCA registry, that will help identify the epidemiology and outcome of OHCAs, explore sources of variation in outcome, help identify best practice and improve patient outcomes for those suffering an OHCA.
Robust and reliable data are required to measure the disease burden, identify factors that influence survival, and assess treatment and care protocols supporting continuous quality improvement efforts. If OHCA outcomes are not measured it is difficult to gauge performance, and there is a lack of a reference point to determine the impact of any implemented quality improvement efforts.
A national surveillance system for OHCAs does not exist, each ambulance service collects information but only for audit purposes. A national registry would allow for more reliable and accurate data aggregation, enable benchmarking and continuous quality improvement initiatives. The existence of one national data collection effort would also reduce unnecessary confusion in an already complex field of study.
We would like to acknowledge the ambulance staff who are responsible for obtaining and uploading the information, without whom the registry would not exist.
1 Dept. of Health (2013), Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes Strategy
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