PHILADELPHIA — Two Philadelphia-area residents have been named the winners of Penn Medicine's MyHeartMap Challenge, the citywide crowdsourcing contest aimed at locating and mapping all of the lifesaving automated external defibrillators in Philadelphia. Following a race the Challenge's directors described as "too close to call," Jennifer Yuan, an IT communications analyst, and Jack Creighton, an athletic director at Frankford High School, will each be awarded $9,000. Each winning competitor located more than 400 AEDs during the eight-week contest in February and March.
More than 300 individuals and teams participated in the Challenge. Together, they found, photographed, and submitted information about more than 1,500 AEDs in more than 800 unique buildings throughout Philadelphia County. Each one of the AEDs found represents fresh chances to save lives from sudden cardiac arrest, which kills more than 300,000 Americans each year.
The MyHeartMap Challenge research team congratulates each of the contest participants, who served as incredible informants in the effort to create a smart phone app and AED map to help 911 operators and bystanders locate the devices to use along with CPR while waiting for EMS to arrive during cardiac arrests in public places.
"Finding AEDs during this contest was a very hard task — many AEDs, we found, are in places people wouldn't think to look during an emergency," says MyHeartMap Challenge director Raina Merchant, MD, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine. "We're so impressed with the creative ways people sought out devices and provided us with information that we'll now be able to ensure that these devices are in the right place to save lives."
Merchant and her colleagues are now at work analyzing the data submitted by contest participants, and they hope to soon publish the results of the nation's first effort using crowdsourcing to save lives.
Among their goals, both in Philadelphia and in other cities where future MyHeartMap Challenges will be held: To help business owners make the devices more visible and accessible — many found were stashed away in basements or closets — and push for consistency in where the devices can be found during the emergency, much as fire extinguishers are placed in standardized locations.
In addition to the Challenge's individual winners, three Philadelphia schools -- McCall Elementary, Frankford High School, and Douglas High School — will be awarded an AED by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Youth Heart Watch for being the top three schools to find AEDs.
A special awards ceremony this summer will recognize all MyHeartMap Challenge awardees and businesses that were found to have exemplary practices in AED availability and staff training, and honor cardiac arrest survivors and bystanders who stepped in save them. Although the contest is over, contestants and other community members may continue submitting AEDs photos and locations at myheartmap.org to help the research team build the database and map.