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Application of the “Plan-Do-Study-Act” Model to Improve Survival after Cardiac Arrest in Korea: A Case Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 December 2019

Joo Yeong Kim
Department of Emergency Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, South Korea
Hanjin Cho*
Department of Emergency Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, South Korea
Jong-Hak Park
Department of Emergency Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, South Korea
Joo-Hyun Song
Department of Emergency Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, South Korea
Sungwoo Moon
Department of Emergency Medicine, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Ansan, South Korea
Hongjae Lee
Ansan Public Health Center, Ansan, South Korea
Hyun Ju Yang
Ansan Fire Department, Ansan, South Korea
Juliana Tolles
Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA
Nichole Bosson
Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency, Santa Fe Springs, California, USA
Roger J. Lewis
Department of Emergency Medicine, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California, USA David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California, USA Berry Consultants, LLC, Austin, Texas, USA
Correspondence: Hanjin Cho, MD, PhD Department of Emergency Medicine Korea University College of Medicine Korea University Ansan Hospital 516 Gojan-dong, Danwon-gu, Ansan-si, Gyunggi-do, 425-707, Korea E-mails:;



Low rates of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) were identified as a shortcoming in the “chain of survival” for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) care in the Korean city of Ansan. This study sought to evaluate the effect of an initiative to increase bystander CPR and quality of out-of-hospital resuscitation on outcome from OHCA. The post-intervention data were used to determine the next quality improvement (QI) target as part of the “Plan-Do-Study-Act” (PDSA) model for QI.


The study hypothesis was that bystander CPR, return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), and survival to discharge after OHCA would increase in the post-intervention period.


This was a retrospective pre/post study. The data from the pre-intervention period were abstracted from 2008–2011 and the post-intervention period from 2012–2013. The effect of the intervention on the odds of ROSC and survival to hospital discharge was determined using a generalized estimating equation to account for confounders and the effect of clustering within medical centers. The analysis was then used to identify other factors associated with outcomes to determine the next targets for intervention in the chain of survival for cardiac arrest in this community.


Rates of documented bystander CPR increased from 13% in the pre-intervention period to 37% in the post-intervention period. The overall rate of ROSC decreased from 18.4% to 14.3% (risk difference −4.1%; 95% CI, −7.1%–1.0%), whereas survival to hospital discharge increased from 3.9% to 5.0% (risk difference 1.1%; 95% CI, −1.8%–3.8%), and survival with good neurologic outcome increased from 0.8% to 1.6% (risk difference 0.8%; 95% CI, −0.8%–2.4%). In multivariable analyses, there was no association between the intervention and the rate of ROSC or survival to hospital discharge. The designated level of the treating hospital was a significant predictor of both survival and ROSC.


In this case study, there were no observed improvements in outcomes from OHCA after the targeted intervention to improve out-of-hospital CPR. However, utilizing the PDSA model for QI, the designated level of the treating hospital was found to be a significant predictor of survival in the post-period, identifying the next target for intervention.

Original Research
© World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2019

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