Hands Only CPR: Anthem Foundation and American Heart Association
Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of health benefits company Anthem. A cornerstone of their CSR program is focused on healthy hearts and investing in preventative programs that minimize controllable cardiovascular diseases to strengthen the health of their 40 million health plan members, 73 million individuals served through subsidiaries and 58,000+ employees and communities served.
For Anthem’s industry, insurance premiums (a direct cost) rise when claims increase and can be reduced with reduced claims. Life insurance premiums are reduced as death rates are reduced. Worker’s compensation premiums may also decline as claims decrease.
The Anthem Foundation identified cardiac arrest as an area where they could make a significant impact. Cardiac arrest costs Americans $2.2 billion in direct hospital costs; indirect costs to the family and employer are multiples of this. These deaths cost the workplace in insurance premiums, lost productivity, and actual and indirect costs. A death costs the employer 175% of that worker’s annual salary, just for replacement.
Performing CPR can double or even triple a person’s chance of survival. Unfortunately, less than half of all cardiac arrest victims will receive bystander CPR. Committed to changing these statistics, the Anthem Foundation established a bold goal of training 100 million Americans in lifesaving Hands-Only CPR and pledged $12.4 million toward the goal.
In 2008, the American Heart Association (AHA) introduced the concept of “Hands-Only CPR”, an easier version of long-taught CPR that drops the difficult mouth-to-mouth maneuver, and only requires 2 simple steps.
With the help of the American Heart Association, the Anthem Foundation set out to create one of the most successful public awareness campaigns ever orchestrated.
A wide variety of tactics was employed, including offering Hands-Only CPR training across multiple physical venues to reach individuals where they live, work and play; launching a mobile tour comprised of interactive sessions led by bilingual instructors; conducting research to confirm effectiveness of the training model; and reaching out to diverse audiences through English and Spanish-based online resources and via a texting program, just to name a few.
In a very short period of time, the Foundation has propelled Hands-Only CPR messaging into the public consciousness. Bystander CPR has increased by 50% in the U.S. (31% up to 46%), and survival from cardiac arrest outside the hospital has increased by 37% (from 7.6% to 10.4%). The campaign has trained 336,015 in the technique.
Highlights of the campaign include: an Anthem employee saving his wife’s life; a college student saving a friend’s life shortly after receiving training on an airport kiosk; and a man who, after receiving 2300 hands only chest compressions, fully recovered and retained full brain function even though he had been clinically dead for 23 minutes.