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American Heart Association Enhances eLearning for Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC)

Online programs expand options, reduce costs for ECC training

DALLAS, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- For many years, American Heart Association research has supported education and training programs for Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) that save thousands of lives each year. Now, healthcare providers have more ways to access the American Heart Association's research-based ECC programs, as the organization introduces a significantly expanded eLearning program. That means more people, taking more courses, and saving more lives.

The expansion of the ECC Web-based eLearning offerings takes advantage of advances in technology and instructional design to deliver certain courses in a format that maximizes flexibility and consistency, while also saving participants time and money. The new eLearning offerings include a mix of online-only and "blended" courses -- which include basic online instruction with required hands-on training and assessment -- depending on the assessment and certification required. For example, courses involving strictly cognitive learning can be completed as eLearning modules online. Programs that rely heavily on effective CPR require skills practice and testing, and will need to be scheduled with an authorized American Heart Association Training Center.

Prior to this expansion, the American Heart Association's ECC program provided training through traditional instructor-led classroom courses, "micro-simulation" instruction using computerized manikins, and a limited mix of stand-alone online modules and blended courses. The new eLearning courses add to these offerings and help further the American Heart Association's commitment to develop learning programs that cover the entire educational spectrum through the most effective, research-based teaching methodologies available, no matter the delivery format.

"Changes in technology and a greater general acceptance of eLearning have made this the right time for the American Heart Association to enhance its eLearning programs for emergency cardiovascular care training," said William W. Hammill, M.D., Director of Cardiopulmonary and Vascular Services for Martha Jefferson Hospital, and chair, American Heart Association ECC First Aid Task Force. "Now, healthcare providers will not only have access to traditional instructor-led classroom courses to complete their training requirements, but they will also have a greater array of options to complete certain courses when their schedules allow, without being tied to a specific classroom at a specific time. The convenience and cost savings associated with eLearning programs will make them an invaluable component of a full spectrum of educational and training options."

The eLearning course lineup includes the following options:

Stand-alone online courses

* Basic ECG Rhythm Recognition, called Learn Rhythm - Adult, which covers

basic heart rhythms, arrhythmias and rhythm recognition, and which is

an excellent educational tool for healthcare workers holding Basic Life

Support certification who seek to take Advanced Life Support (course

available soon online)

* Stroke Prehospital Care Online, which will cover risk factors,

diagnosis, assessment and management of potential strokes

Blended courses

* The AHA Healthcare Provider Course, HeartCode(TM) BLS Anywhere (course

available soon online)

* BLS Healthcare Provider (HCP) Online Renewal

* Heartsaver(R) First Aid Online

* Heartsaver(R) First Aid Online With CPR and AED Renewal

The American Heart Association's ECC eLearning initiative corresponds with research by the American Society for Training and Development that shows the use of technology-based training delivery methods increased by nearly five-fold between 1999 and 2005. In addition, research by the healthcare compliance company HCPro, Inc. indicated that education and human resource leaders at 34 of the nation's largest multi-facility healthcare systems viewed online instruction as an extremely effective, convenient and time-efficient training method. The reasons for such a positive view are that eLearning helps overcome many barriers that prevent people from completing required training, such as inflexible schedules, difficulty in attending training sessions or unease in traditional classroom environments.

The new ECC eLearning modules fulfill a wide range of learning needs, including preparing for success in a traditional classroom course, updating professional skills and preparing for a medical emergency, following through on a commitment to ongoing training, and earning CE credit or achieving certification. While the first eLearning courses are primarily targeted to healthcare providers who need to keep their skills current, ultimately there will be more courses directed toward the general public, reflecting the American Heart Association's commitment to teach lifesaving skills to a greater number of people.

"Being able to reach so many more people through these expanded eLearning programs will be a critical factor in meeting the American Heart Association's goal of training 20 million people in emergency cardiovascular care by 2010," said Dr. Hammill. "Combining the research-based nature of our courses with the convenience and flexibility of eLearning can help improve outcomes for patients, which ultimately is the goal of our emergency cardiovascular care training."

For more information about ECC eLearning, including specific courses and pricing, visit, or call 800-AHA-USA1.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to reducing disability and death from diseases of the heart and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim over 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2005-06 the association invested over $543 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives.

SOURCE American Heart Association
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