Medicine & Health

Phone Aid
Emergency medical training at your fingertips

By Alina Kulman ’21 / September–October 2021
August 19th, 2021
Illustration of CPR by Raymond Biesinger
Illustration: Raymond Biesinger

When widespread lockdowns first began in the U.S., Abigail Kohler ’20 and Gregory Boudreau-Fine ’20 noticed a problem compounding the pandemic’s effects: there was no infrastructure to enable people to easily earn CPR certifications from home. The two engineering concentrators had already started developing a medical device during their junior year to help people give CPR compressions to the correct chest depth. In March 2020, they pivoted to creating an effective online CPR curriculum. “It is more critical than ever that people are equipped with this knowledge,” says Boudreau-Fine. 

Their app ResusciTech, which launched March 2021, offers a 90-minute curriculum that lets people get CPR- and first-aid-certified via smartphone. “It’s very different from the typical sitting-in-a-classroom-for-six-hours model,” Kohler says. The curriculum combines short videos, quizzes, and practicing compressions on couchs or mattresses. The training is free; users can pay for official certificates.

In February, ResusciTech received a $40,000 grant from the American Heart Association as part of the organization’s accelerator program. Kohler and Boudreau-Fine are also alums of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship’s Breakthrough Lab, an eight-week summer program. 

Kohler is glad to make the transition from undergraduate entrepreneur to her new CEO position. As an undergrad,  “I maybe worked on it to the point of neglecting some other responsibilities.” 

Plans include other emergency medical training apps in multiple languages. The ultimate goal is to give healthcare professionals and the general public access to treatment options on their smartphones, says Boudreau-Fine, since “emergencies can happen everywhere.”

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Related Issue
September–October 2021