CPR Recertification In A Snap—The Right Way!

Audrey Fraizer

Audrey Fraizer

Web Exclusives

Easy access to CPR recertification is now at your fingertips complements of an online College of Emergency Dispatch course developed by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch® (IAED).

The new Dispatcher-Directed CPR (DD-CPR) course is designed specifically for the non-visual environment of emergency dispatch. The course takes less than two hours to complete and meets the CPR requirement needed every two years for EMD recertification. There is no cost to certified members, and the course is open to members certified in each protocol discipline. The in-person CPR training and certification is still required for initial EMD certification.

“The online DD-CPR course was designed to enhance the in-person training, not to replace it,” said Brett Patterson, Academics & Standards Associate and Chair of the IAED Medical Council of Standards.

The Academy’s online DD-CPR course differs from standard CPR training in that it's dispatch and protocol-specific for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA).

“We do things a bit differently in our non-visual realm,” Patterson added. “We can’t see the patient, so we assess the patient through the eyes and ears of our callers. Therefore, training for cardiac arrest recognition is necessarily different from the standard CPR course. That’s why DLS is different from BLS and ALS. There are also differences in technique that are addressed in this dispatch-specific module. The new course also provides scenario practice that is much more applicable.”

IAED President Jerry Overton announced the release of DD-CPR during the opening presentation at NAVIGATOR 2022, held the last week of April in Nashville, Tennessee (USA). The online course is a welcomed option as evidenced by the full room of attendees at the DD-CPR session and the incredible show of members taking the online course. As of May 5, six days after the close of NAVIGATOR, there were already 2,800 enrollments and 1,300 completions. In a daily tally, more than 1,000 people enrolled the day it launched with about 200 enrolling every day since.

Comments received, discussions at the IAED booth at NAVIGATOR, and a completed survey support the online training members want.

“Our members want training that moves the needle in terms of performance, not just ‘raising awareness’ or marking a compliance checkbox,” said IAED Instructional Design Manager Andrew Palmer, who assisted in developing the course. “This trend has become even more pronounced in an environment where new emergency dispatchers are constantly being onboarded at pretty much every center. Our goal to focus on the work EMDs do has really seemed to resonate.”

Not only is the course cost effective—free—but, also, far more convenient. It’s ideal for Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS®) Protocol-specific training, accessible any time an EMD is required to recertify, and doesn’t require any scheduling outside of work hours. 

The course features practice scenarios in a fully simulated ProQA® environment and guidance in differentiating between sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and heart attack. Scenarios center on Protocol 9: Cardiac or Respiratory Arrest/Death and CPR PAIs. A multiple-choice quiz must be completed and scored at 80% to recertify.

Palmer and IAED Senior Learning Experience Designer Rachel Reddoch dedicated the better part of a year to developing a “practical course based on what emergency dispatchers should know and what they should do,” Reddoch said. Direction and extensive review were under the auspices of IAED medical experts, including Patterson and Jeff Clawson, M.D., Chair of the Rules Group of the Medical Council of Standards and Medical Director of the Research, Standards, and Academics Division.

DD-CPR recertification was a “pipe dream” that launched into reality, Clawson said. “The idea of packing the course into less than two hours took having the right people and support structures in place. We achieved the quality we wanted through every step of development,” he said.

According to the IAED Data Center, there were 263,612 calls involving Protocol 9 received from agencies providing data over the past three years (through April 29, 2022). The majority—54.9%—were coded as ECHO (E-9-1). There are more than 357,000 EMS-assessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrests each year in the United States, and nearly 90 percent of them are fatal.1

Providing CPR before the arrival of EMS is associated with a higher rate of survival. The American Heart Association promotes the use of recognized emergency medical dispatch protocols and appropriate quality improvement programs among 911 emergency dispatch agencies to ensure that bystanders promptly receive effective CPR coaching; it supports legislation and other efforts to train emergency dispatch personnel to provide pre-arrival medical instructions.2 The Academy takes that a step further—to always provide PAIs—whenever possible and appropriate, no exceptions!


1 “A Race Against the Clock. Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.” American Heart Association. 2020; October. https://www.heart.org/-/media/Files/About-Us/Policy-Research/Fact-Sheets/Acute-Care/Out-of-Hospital-Cardiac-Arrest.pdf (accessed May 3, 2022).

2 See note 1.