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Last Updated: 07/30/02

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As we begin the 21st century, enormous changes in the way health care providers are trained and supported in rural areas of the U.S. and around the world are on the verge of blossoming. Evidence continues to mount that distance learning is plausible and effective. Self-study is proving to be as effective as more traditionally-based approaches for health care providers and the public they serve. Telemedicine and telehealth projects allow rural health care providers to see and talk with colleagues in urban health care centers thousands of miles away. As challenges concerning band-width and transmission speeds are resolved in rural areas, the internet stands poised to change the face of rural health care forever. CIT has long been a leader in this ever-evolving distance learning revolution for rural health care providers. We continue to have our sights firmly fixed on the future.

Community Planning
This project grew out of a realization that as requirements change for EMS providers, communities need to take an active role in determining the type of EMS agency that best suits their needs. The resulting step-by-step Community Planning Guide is a tool to help EMS agencies evaluate their strengths and weaknesses and to provide a clear understanding of their customers, the needs of those customers, and how to meet these needs within their community.
Although initially intended for use by EMS agencies, it is proving valuable for a wide variety of community-based organizations.

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TENKIDS (click for more)
One of CIT's most celebrated projects has been the development of an electronic community that improves communication between EMS professionals throughout Montana. CIT conceived of a state-wide electronic community that would breach the barriers of geographic location and limited funding that hamper sparsely populated areas.

Interactive Desktop Video Conferencing (click for more)
Using the unique TENKIDS electronic community as a foundation, the Interactive Desktop Video Conferencing project provides a link between prehospital care providers and doctors to improve the quality of service performed by Emergency Medical Technicians. Ambulance services can also hold  video conferences, as well as exchange computer files (such as visual patient care records).

Interactive CD-ROM Training Programs (click for more)
These CD-ROMs provide interactive training for EMS providers. The programs use video examples, textual explanations, and on-line testing to convey critical prehospital concepts.

Trauma Education for Rural Nurses (TERN) (click for more)
Under contract with the Montana EMS & Injury Prevention Section, CIT spearheaded the revision of the pediatric materials in the Trauma Education for Rural Nurses (TERN) student manual and instructor lesson plans. CIT brought in pediatric nursing specialists from around the region to consult on the revision. Three of the chapters have been produced as CD-ROM programs; three more are in production. As yet another alternative, videotape lectures have been produced and are available for facilities who do not have a TERN instructor available or for individuals who cannot attend a formal TERN training course.

Here to Help
Domestic violence is a prevailing problem in our society, yet prehospital providers get little training on how to handle these volatile calls. Ambulance personnel are often the first people a victim sees when he or she needs medical attention. CIT and the Montana Board of Crime Control created the Here to Help project out of the realization that those providers have a unique opportunity, not only to give the victim the immediate help needed, but also to provide that first helping hand in showing the victim the way out of the vicious cycle of violence. Additionally, because these providers must often enter the home of the victim and the perpetrator, it is vital that they learn how to protect themselves. Here to Help includes an interactive CD-ROM training program, a print manual and Resources to Help, a companion web site.

Distance Learning
CIT is committed to expanding distance learning for the emergency medical professionals, taking advantage of the many technologies that are available and being developed. The Critical Illness and Trauma Foundation has developed a distance learning program based on the Simple Triage and Rapid Treatment (START) system developed by Hoag Hospital and Newport Beach (CA) Fire Department. This distance program combines web-based, self-study with instructor-led electronic discussions and in-class presentation and discussion. The program is designed to take advantage of desktop video conference equipment.

Distance Learning (click for more)


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