Arkansas Children’s Implements American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Quality Improvement Program to Increase Patient Survival


American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Quality Improvement Program logoLITTLE ROCK, AR. (Feb. 25, 2019) — Arkansas Children’s is creating safer care for families visiting its campuses by becoming the first hospital in the state to adopt a new American Heart Association initiative that equips staff to provide better CPR.


More than 200,000 in-hospital cardiac arrests occur annually in the U.S. Patients who suffer a cardiac arrest must receive the highest quality CPR possible, which is known to be the cornerstone of survival. For decades, the CPR training standard for healthcare providers has been Basic Life Support with a requirement for participants to renew their course completion card every two years. However, studies show CPR skills can decay within three to six months following this training.


Arkansas Children’s recognizes the importance of high-quality CPR competency, performance and delivery in saving more lives. That’s why the American Heart Association’s (Association) Resuscitation Quality Improvement® program ( RQI® ) is being implemented to help staff at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Arkansas Children’s Northwest achieve sustained mastery of high-quality CPR skills and competency. This ongoing training will result in improved patient outcomes. The state’s only pediatric health system will have 11 RQI stations between its Little Rock and Springdale facilities. Arkansas Children’s facilities are the first in Arkansas to add RQI 2020, an enhanced resuscitation quality improvement portfolio that was launched by the Association and Laerdal Medical this month, and one of the first in the nation to implement the program.


“Our hospital is excited to implement the RQI program and position our staff to perform high-quality CPR on every patient, every time,” said Grace Gephardt, Director of Simulation Education at Arkansas Children’s. “RQI provides high-frequency, low-dose skills reinforcement to prepare us when resuscitation is needed. Additionally, faculty and staff are kept abreast of new American Heart Association material as it becomes available through online modules. We can use these updates immediately rather than waiting for new guidelines to be published. We are glad to be early adopters of the PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) RQI program and look forward to continuing our work with the American Heart Association.”


Last July, the Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, and Laerdal Medical called for a new standard of care by shifting resuscitation practice from course training once every two years to verified CPR competency for healthcare professionals. In 2015, the Association and Laerdal co-developed the RQI program for healthcare professionals with responsibility for patient care.


Now, RQI 2020 prepares all healthcare system staff members to deliver high-quality CPR and verify competency in Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support through simulated skills sessions and eLearning simulations.


RQI 2020 provides a high-reliability platform for self-directed, simulation-based mastery learning and performance, which is implemented through “low-dose, high-frequency” hands-on CPR quality improvement sessions, in 10 minutes every 90 days, that measure and verify competency each time. The program also provides analytics that can measure individual, department, facility or system compliance. In addition, it allows for simplified enrollment and offers additional modules for learners who need it.


To provide a complete solution to hospitals, a brand new offering – RQI Responder – is now available for use by non-clinical healthcare staff who are not directly involved in patient care. The addition of RQI Responder will ensure that every hospital employee, clinical and non-clinical, is prepared to respond to a cardiac arrest event and able to provide high-quality CPR.


“We are excited Arkansas Children’s is implementing the RQI program and working with the American Heart Association to shift to a new standard of resuscitation care – competency,” said Joyce Taylor, executive director Central Arkansas American Heart Association. “This illustrates the staff’s commitment to making high-quality CPR a priority organization-wide and furthering our mission to improve patient care and help save more lives.”


Arkansas Children’s enrolled select clinical staff in the RQI program at the end of 2018 and expects the onboarding process to continue for the next several months as they implement the program throughout the system.


To learn more about the RQI program and the value it brings to hospitals, patient care and communities at-large, visit



About Arkansas Children’s

Arkansas Children’s, Inc. is the only health care system in the state solely dedicated to caring for children, which allows the organization to uniquely shape the landscape of pediatric care in Arkansas. The system includes a 336-bed hospital in Little Rock with the state’s only pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center, burn center, Level 4 neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care, and research institute as well as a nationally-recognized transport service. It is one of the 25 largest children’s hospitals in the United States and is nationally ranked by U.S. News World & Report in cardiology/heart surgery, neurology/neurosurgery, nephrology and pulmonology. Arkansas Children’s Northwest in Springdale includes 233,613 square feet of inpatient beds, emergency care, clinic rooms and diagnostic services. Arkansas Children’s also blankets the state with outreach programs that include telemedicine, mobile health and school-based health solutions. A private nonprofit, Arkansas Children’s boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking research and is committed to providing every child with access to the best care available, regardless of location or resources. Founded as an orphanage, Arkansas Children’s has championed children by making them better today and healthier tomorrow for more than 100 years. For more info, visit



About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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