Efficacy of Distance-Based EMS Education in a Low-Resource Country

WMJ. 2020 Sep;119(3):182-184.


Introduction: Road traffic collisions are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in low-resource countries. Compounding this issue is a lack of advanced medical training in these regions and a paucity of developed emergency medical services (EMS). To help address this need, a distance-based EMS educational module was developed with the goal of advancing medical training in resource-poor areas.

Design: This prospective study evaluated the knowledge acquisition and technical effectiveness of a live online, distance-based EMS lecture provided to medical providers at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital in Belize City, Belize. Participants were given a pretest consisting of 15 questions regarding ambulance and emergency vehicle safety, followed by a posttest of the same questions. One month later, a third test with the same questions was administered to assess knowledge retention. Technological effectiveness was evaluated as well.

Results: Nine participants completed all aspects of the study. Improvement was noted between the average scores of the pretest compared to the posttest (32.5% vs 74.1%) and was maintained from the pretest through the delayed posttest (32.5% vs 57.0%). Overall, participants approved of the technical aspects of the project.

Conclusions: This synchronously presented distance-based EMS educational program showed gains in both immediate and delayed knowledge acquisition among a small sample size. These results show promise that online, distance-based education is a viable option for continuing graduate medical education in low-resource countries.