- Need: Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for EMS 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.
Distance, time, and cost make it difficult for emergency medical service (EMS) volunteers to attend mandatory training and continuing education.
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. This program delivers free online training once a month to EMS providers, fire and law enforcement personnel, public health and hospital staff, as well as other members of the community. Healthcare centers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, The Aleutian Islands, and Alaska offer the EMS Live@Nite trainings.
EMS Live@Nite has recently been combined with INHS's Ongoing Training and Evaluation Program (OTEP) for EMS personnel (advanced emergency medical technicians, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics). The OTEP helps EMS personnel become certified and re-certified in their field. OTEP evaluations following the courses helps determine competence of topic content.
INHS funds the program in partnership with Spokane County EMS. The Northwest TeleHealth video conferencing network and other partnering video conferencing networks provide 140 rural locations with connectivity throughout the region. EMS Live@Nite has been approved by the Washington Department of Health as an EMS Ongoing Training and Evaluation Program (OTEP).
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.
Trainings meet the standards of the following institutions:
- American Heart Association (AHA)
- American Geriatrics Society
- American Academy of Pediatrics
The training covers a wide variety of issues. Many of the topics are based on participants' recommendations, which ensures classes will be relevant. Topics covered in 2019 sessions include:
- Infectious disease
- Shock, trauma, and bleeding
- Pediatric care
- OB/GYN emergencies
- Mental healthcare
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 tablet.
To view archived courses, visit Archived EMS Live@Nite Courses.
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. More than 80% of students have been satisfied or very satisfied with the courses and feel better prepared to respond to emergency situations after taking them.
Additional reading about EMS Live@Nite:
- EMS Live @ Nite Still Educating Northwest Health Professionals Far and Wide, the Rural Monitor
- Inland Northwest Health Services, Modern Healthcare
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.
Emergency medical services
Emergency medical technicians and paramedics
Health workforce education and training
Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington
June 11, 2007
Date updated or reviewed
September 17, 2019
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.