- Need: 80% of rural EMS providers are volunteers. Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for these volunteers to attend continuing education and maintain certification.
- Intervention: Inland Northwest Health Services delivers free online training to rural EMS providers via video teleconferencing.
- Results: The EMS Live@Nite program provides free, monthly training to rural EMS providers in the northwestern part of the United States. The Program is available through live video conferencing from certified locations in rural communities.
Around 80% of emergency medical services (EMS) providers in rural communities are volunteers. This, combined with the great distance many of these providers have to travel, can make attending mandatory training and continuing education time consuming and expensive. Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS), a nonprofit organization serving the northwest United States, received funding from the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy's Rural Emergency Medical Services program in 2003 to create the EMS Live@Nite program. Delivering free online training once a month in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, The Aleutian Islands, and Alaska, EMS Live@ Nite is offered to EMS providers, fire and law enforcement personnel, public health staff, and hospital staff, as well as other members of the community. INHS now funds the program in partnership with the Spokane County EMS. They use the Northwest TeleHealth video conferencing network and other partnering video conferencing networks to reach over 140 rural locations in the region.
INHS broadcasts EMS Live@Nite on the second Tuesday of each month from September through June. A pre-test is given before the training and a post-test after the training to test for levels of learning and retention. Each training focusing on a different topic taught by an expert. The trainings cover a wide variety of issues. Many of the topics are based on participants’ recommendations, which ensures classes will be relevant. Topics covered during 2015-2016 sessions include stroke, sepsis, penetrating trauma, heart attack, first aid, amphetamines, and child distress.
INHS has added GoToWebinar as another option to view EMS
Live@Nite. This provides agencies immediate access from
their ambulance bay or any ambulance via a smart phone or
To view archived courses, visit Archived EMS Live@Nite Courses.
- EMS Live@Nite celebrated 12 years of operation in 2015, and broadcast its 100th episode in March of that year.
- Live trainings are available via video teleconferencing to an average of 250 EMS professionals in 140 rural locations.
- Many EMS providers are able to receive continuing medical education and maintain their certification, as all participating states have accepted the interactive program to meet state continuing education requirements.
Additional reading about EMS Live@Nite:
Rural Monitor Newsletter
Innovative Programs in Telemedicine Northwest TeleHealth
The biggest challenge has been the change in how rural communities or individuals receive training. Rural communities may wait until many of their EMS professionals need to recertify and then bring in an instructor to have the whole group complete their recertification at once. Other EMS professionals complete online training.
This program has provided an innovative way for rural EMS providers to receive training. Because there is little funding available for EMS training, the EMS Live@Nite program been well-received as a convenient and cost-effective way to train EMS providers and help them maintain their certification. Other programs may benefit from being receptive and listening to those they are training by holding classes on topics relevant to them. This helps to keep the trainees engaged and the trainers providing relevant, current information.
Samantha Roberts, Senior TeleHealth Analyst
Inland Northwest Health Services
Emergency medical services
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
Health workforce education and training
Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
June 11, 2007
July 11, 2016
Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.