We recently had the opportunity to talk to Dominik Schäfer about the “ErstHelden” app, which we developed on behalf of CRS medical GmbH. The app is based on our Mobility Suite mos. During his practical phase as a dual student, Schäfer worked with fellow student Josefine Klaas on the development of the app. In this interview, he gives insights into the development phase of the project and answers questions about the cooperation with Fabrik19 AG. The “ErstHelden” app addresses the topic of first aid in a mobile format and helps in the search of an automated external defibrillator (AED) in case of an emergency. If you want to learn more about the app, you can read our in-depth post on the native application here.
Johanna Becker: Hello Mr. Schäfer, how nice of you to take time out of your day to answer a few of our questions about the development of the “ErstHelden” app. CRS medical is a specialist for services in the field of medical technology and at the same time a driver of digitization in the field of medicine. The “ErstHelden” app as a mobile application for laypersons contributes to this. Perhaps you can briefly explain what the app was designed for and how you actually came up with the project idea. What gave the initial impetus?
Dominik Schäfer: Hello, I’m glad that I can tell you a little bit about our project! “ErstHelden” is an app that primarily offers two complementary functions. First, an AED locator that directs users to the nearest AED in an emergency. Second, a first-aid library that can be used preventively for self-training in order to be well prepared for a potential emergency. It was actually a colleague who suggested implementing a resuscitation app that gave the impetus. But after discarding that idea, we realized that until now there hadn’t been a first aid app that focused on AEDs – automated external defibrillators. However, since first aid and the use of AEDs concern everyone, and the topic has not yet received enough attention, we decided to tackle this topic instead. This way, we could at the same time move the topic further into focus. We were pleased that the management of CRS medical was also immediately convinced of the idea and saw it as an opportunity to make a contribution to the common good in an innovative way.
Becker: Sounds like a promising start! And why did you then choose the app format of all things? What advantages does this bring?
Schäfer: In order to be able to locate the nearest AED as quickly as possible in an emergency and to be able to act quickly, it is essential to have the information handy. The best way to do this is with a native application for mobile devices, since almost everyone now always has their cell phone with them. In addition to the handy format, another important area can also be mapped with the app: the library area allows users to receive further preventive training on the subject of “First Aid”. They can thereby prepare themselves for emergencies, as various emergency situations are described in a thematically structured directory and the correct procedure is explained in each case. The app allows users to gradually refresh this knowledge, which strengthens self-confidence in the event of an emergency and increases the likelihood of being able to act immediately and provide first aid if necessary.
Becker: That’s right, often lack of knowledge and questioning one’s own first aid skills prevent people from actually helping. They are often afraid of doing something wrong. So, what is the best way to use the app in an emergency?
Schäfer: In emergency situations, the AED locator is particularly important in order to find the nearest automated external defibrillator as quickly as possible. The app’s data is regularly updated by active users in order to make sure the information on the AED locations is up-to-date. At the same time, the library area can also be useful in an emergency situation and provide the best possible support to helpers with the information stored in the app. This way, possible gaps in knowledge can be filled quickly or, if doubted, one’s own actions can be confirmed. In addition, emergency calls can be made directly via the app.
Becker: In an emergency, fast and reliable support is important, that’s correct. How did it then come about that you chose the Fabrik19 AG to be your technology partner for a collaboration? And how did you perceive working with us overall?
Schäfer: We started development during the COVID-19 pandemic and wanted to work with a local company for the most efficient communication possible. That’s when we came across Fabrik19. And after an initial discussion about our project, we felt we were in good hands. In addition, the Mobility Suite enabled us to implement our ideas and requirements precisely, which was important to us. The cooperation went very well. Plus, we were always able to remove any obstacles that arose in the further development very quickly.
Becker: We are glad to hear that! How did the project phase itself proceed? What were milestones and did you encounter specific challenges?
Schäfer: A milestone was certainly when we were able to enter a list of around 2000 AEDs into the app. We also recently added a new feature. It is now possible to link to other posts within the library area. Of course, we also encountered challenges during the project phase that we had to overcome. A challenge concerning AED locations was deciding which criteria would affect navigation for it must be ensured that the AED is not behind a locked door and is also functional. For the future, it is important that the existing data is kept up to date by the users and that new AEDs are entered into the app. This interaction is important and at the same time represents the community aspect of the app.
Becker: And how would you describe the response to the app? What does the feedback look like?
Schäfer: The app hasn’t been on the market that long, but the feedback so far has been very positive. Now it’s time to spread the word about AEDs and first aid. It helps a lot that the app is not regionally limited but shows locations of AEDs throughout Germany.
Becker: Are any further developments of the “ErstHelden” app planned?
Schäfer: Naturally, we have been working on further optimizing the app and on responding to user feedback ever since the launch. Plus, we recently added a feature that makes it possible to link to each other in the contributions within the library area. In addition, we are regularly planning new texts and illustrations that will make the library area even more interesting. A quiz function for self-testing is also being discussed. On the one hand to check your own level of knowledge and on the other hand to measure yourself with other app users. Overall, it would be nice if we could also use the app to initiate better AED coverage in Germany as they can save lives in an emergency.
Becker: That would be a great achievement! Thank you very much for your time. I wish you and the company all the best for the future.