Heart smart: Meriter Foundation’s PulsePoint

Free mobile app allows bystanders to aid victims
Heart smart: Meriter Foundation’s PulsePoint

Heart smart: Meriter Foundation’s PulsePointSudden heart attacks often happen outside hospital walls.

Meriter Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Meriter UnityPoint Health, recognized the need to try to address this critical health situation when it funded and worked with partners to launch the PulsePoint program. It’s a free mobile app that allows bystanders to aid victims of sudden cardiac arrest as well as alert users with CPR skills when someone within a quarter mile is in need of help. Research shows that effective bystander CPR provided immediately after a cardiac episode can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. In the last year alone, more than five hundred sudden cardiac arrests occurred in Dane County. Meriter Foundation, in collaboration with the Dane County Emergency Medical Service and the City of Madison Fire Department, rolled out the program to Madison this year. Since January 2015, roughly seven thousand people in and around Madison have downloaded the app, and it’s already aided in thousands of critical situations across the U.S., says Marilyn Rhodes, president of Meriter Foundation.

What is social innovation?

According to Stanford University’s Social Innovation Review, social innovation is a “novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable or just than existing solutions” and benefits primarily society as a whole rather than private individuals.

It includes these elements:

Increasing employment, productivity and economic growth

Justice, fairness, environmental preservation, improved health, arts and culture and better education

A social innovation:

Can be a product, production process or technology (much like innovation in general), but it can also be a principle, an idea, a piece of legislation, a social movement, an intervention or some combination of them.

Recognizes the fundamental role of cross-sector dynamics: exchanging ideas and values, shifting roles and relationships and blending public, philanthropic and private resources. Innovation blossoms where the sectors converge.

Can’t be understood, let alone solved, without involving the nonprofit, public and private sectors.

The M List
Madison Magazine‘s M List is a who’s who of organizations and individuals who are having an impact on our local culture and economy. In its third year, the M List recognizes those making strides in the area of social innovation. Last year’s list of innovators were in the food industry. The original M List, in 2013, honored the technology sector. The 2014 M List honored “Foodtastic” entrepreneurs and innovators.

Click here to return to the 2015 M List.