The San Antonio Fire Department Emergency Medical Services corps and area hospitals and emergency rooms say a joint program designed to reduce ER wait times for potential heart attack patients is bearing the best kind of results possible---lives saved.


  1200 WOAI News reports that the Regional Advisory Council says wait times at ER's for people suffering from potentially life threatening heart conditions has been cut by 50% over the last five years.


  "If you looked at the median times from five years ago to where we're at now, we are routinely at times under 60 minutes," said Eric Epley, who heads the RAC.


  That measures the time from when the call is made to 911 to the time when the heart attack patients is under a doctor's care in the emergency room.


  "Minutes and minutes we are shaving here and there, and that makes the big difference," Epley said.


  He says the program not only speeds getting the patient to the ER, but also speeds the amount of time needed for the ambulance to reach the patient's location, using cutting edge GPS and advanced computer generated dispatching.


  And he says the effort requires the coordination of the hospital as well, to make sure that heart patients can smooth through the process at the ER, and receive medical care promptly.


  Epley says while all medical conditions demand urgency, when a patient is suffering a heart attack, second literally mean the difference between life and death.