Microsoft is using Azure to map the UK's heart defibrillators

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Microsoft is looking to show that its technology can be a real lifesaver by teaming up with the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to map the location of all the UK's defibrillator units.

This information can then be shared with 999 call handlers, who can advise callers reporting an emergency, potentially meaning the difference between life and death.

The BHF estimates that there are 30,000 cardiac arrests outside of UK hospitals annually, but fewer than one in 10 of those survive, compared to much higher rates in the US and Europe.

Going forward, defibrillator owners will register their devices online, with the locations stored in Microsoft's Azure platform

This database will then be available to ambulance services during emergency situations, and also remind owners to check their defibrillators to make sure they are in working order.

Microsoft Azure mapping

“Every minute without CPR or defibrillation reduces a person’s chance of surviving a cardiac arrest by around 10 percent," said Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF. Thousands more lives could be saved if the public were equipped with vital CPR skills, and had access to a defibrillator in the majority of cases.

Defibrillators can save the life of someone suffering from a cardiac arrest, however the units are only used in two percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, Microsoft says, often because bystanders and ambulance services don’t know where to find the nearest device.

“There is huge potential ahead in the impact that technology will have in digitally transforming UK healthcare,” said Clare Barclay, Microsoft chief operating officer. 

“This innovative partnership will bring the power of Microsoft technology together with the incredible vision and life-saving work of BHF and the NHS. This project, powered by the cloud, will better equip 999 call handlers with information that can make the difference between life and death and shows the potential that innovative partnerships like this could make to the health of the nation.”