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AHA Virtual Option Updates

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Virtual Skills Testing Option for ACLS & PALS has been discontinued after
August 31, 2023

  • The BLS Virtual Skills Testing option will remain available to all providers and we will continue to offer this easily accessible training.

►It appears that your voice has not been heard by the AHA to keep ACLS & PALS Virtual options. 

►This means that after August 31, 2023, you will not be able to obtain or renew your ACLS/PALS certification conveniently on your own time and your choice of location. You will have to return to the in person classroom option and find a class, travel to & from and sit in a classroom to obtain or renew your certification.◄

  1. CONTACT THE AHA:
    Please contact the American Heart Association®, using their INQUIRY FORM, and express your recommendation to make the AHA ACLS & PALS Virtual Option permanent.
  2. SIGN THE PETITION:
    There is a change.org petition (with great details to support your request to the AHA) that you can sign. This petition is to encourage the American Heart Association® to change the decision to eliminate the AHA ACLS & PALS Virtual Option: CLICK HERE.
  3. If you know anyone who is an AHA corporate decision maker (or involved in the decision), share your thoughts directly.
  4. Share & comment on this with social media and get the word out. Let’s go viral.

Why Virtual Training?

  • A significant number of Healthcare Providers don’t have accessible & reliable access to this valuable training. This is especially prevalent, but not limited to, the rural healthcare community.
    • Nearly 20% of the nursing workforce practice in rural settings.
    • One in five of the U.S. population live in rural areas.
    • Rural hospitals do not have the financial capital to invest heavily into nursing continuing education. As a result, rural nursing staff do not receive the same continuing education opportunities that are available in larger, urban hospitals.
    • Barriers to continuing education and research for rural nursing staff must be identified (travel distance/remote location), and a system to accommodate the barriers needs to be developed.
  • If you’re a small organization, virtual simulation allows you to leapfrog into new technology and leverage it where human teaching resources are not available. Online training methods can reduce the overall time and cost of a lesson, while maintaining learner satisfaction, confidence, and learning outcomes.

(NIH) National Library of Medicine; The National Center for Biotechnology Information

  • “For example, VR can be used to train clinicians in complex procedures such as transvenous lead extraction, is effective in cardiopulmonary resuscitation training, can improve communication skills, enhance critical thinking and improve clinical decision making.”
  • “It is also important to increase the number of other health professionals in rural areas, including NPs, PAs, nurses, medical assistants, and many other allied health professionals. Although training for some health occupations can be attained at community colleges, not all rural communities have access to a community college. However, enhanced training and degree opportunities, course availability (including long-distance or virtual courses), and competent faculty are necessary for rural healthcare workforce development.”
  • Let’s encourage the AHA to meet their stated goal of “bringing equitable care to all” by utilizing the Virtual training method. Let the AHA know that the rural and underserved HCP need this training as much as any other HCP, and a universally accepted healthcare education option is Virtual.

Conclusions:

  1. “Clinicians report that expense and travel time are the biggest barriers to CME.”
  • Recent healthcare metrics demonstrate a concerning trend:
    Rural Americans face higher mortality rates than urban residents. Data indicates that rural residents are at 30% higher risk of stroke, 40% more likely to develop heart disease and live an average of three years fewer than urban counterparts.
    The American Heart Association® is committed to bringing equitable care to all. For that reason, we are focused on closing the gap between rural and urban hospital care as a top priority.”
  • One of the ways to close the gap is to provide equitable training access and that will help provide more equitable care to all the U.S. population, not just the big urban areas. 
  • A significant number of healthcare providers at all levels and specialties are becoming mobile when seeking employment.
    • Travel/mobile healthcare providers don’t have that “home base” anymore to get all the required training and are relying more on virtual options to keep up.
  • Rural and smaller facilities are depending more on these mobile providers due to the shrinking & aging of the medical workforce.
  • The era of staying in one place as a full time employee is slowly moving towards the mobile & travel employment era.
  • Mobile/Travel employment has become the chosen path for many healthcare providers.
    • Nurses, respiratory therapists, etc.
    • Locum tenens jobs for physicians and advanced practitioners.
    • Smaller facilities can’t offer “in house” training. This just exacerbates the access to training issue.
  • Unsurprisingly, 91% of nursing programs are now using virtual simulation – an increase from 65% in 2016.
  • Virtual simulation and other technologies have taken a permanent place in nursing education. The future of virtual simulation & virtual reality will be about how educators can apply lessons already learned.
  • By 2025, nursing programs are predicted to begin embracing more advanced technologies – including virtual reality, mobile apps, video capture software, wearables, and makerspaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • YES!!
  • Originally the AHA was going to eliminate BLS, ACLS & PALS from using the Virtual Skills Testing option. After an outcry from the public, the BLS was saved.
  • YES!
  • This is an authorized American Heart Association® program and your card will not be affected by the decision (if we don’t reverse it) to eliminate the ACLS/PALS Virtual Skills Testing option.
  • The card that we issue using the VST option will be valid for two years after the date issue.
  • THE Virtual Skills Testing option has been widely used since July of 2020.
  • The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Our evaluations have shown 100% positive comments.
  • Every level of healthcare provider has participated:
    • Physicians
    • Nurses
    • RRT
    • EMT
    • Physical Therapy
    • Medical/Nursing Students
  1. Since 2020, we provided almost 2,000 VST sessions and not one card has been denied or refused to be accepted.
  2. The card received after completion of the VST session is the EXACT same card you would receive after a classroom session. 
  3. The requirements to complete the VST session are EXACTLY the same as a classroom.
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