Integrating Smartphones into EMS Education

Integrating Smartphones into EMS Education

By Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P Nov 21, 2012

Ed's Note: Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P, presented on "Integrating Smartphones into EMS Education" at the EMS World Expo 2012, held October 29–November 2, in New Orleans, LA. Here Greg shares his handout for the class. Note: Link to slides for this presentation available at

Key Points

  • Bans of smartphones from the classroom, lab or clinical experience are impossible to enforce and therefore ineffective
  • Not having a policy on smartphone usage in EMS education leads to missed teaching and learning opportunities
  • Smartphone ownership and use is ubiquitous and growing, especially among 18–29-year-olds
  • Mobile devices are helpful for accessing information, calculations, navigation, and communication.

Distractions in the classroom and workplace are not limited to smartphones. My top distractions are:

  1. Dogs, especially puppies
  2. Kids, especially having a temper tantrum
  3. Pizza, especially when being delivered to an adjacent classroom

What are your top distractions? I am guessing smartphones don’t make your top three either.

Minimize the impact of distractions by:

  • Engaging students with worthwhile activities and experiences
  • Delivering age, skill, and knowledge appropriate instructions
  • Providing timely and regular performance assessment
  • Granting breaks to physically and mentally re-energize

Use smartphones in education with some of these activities:

  • Create and post videos of patient assessment and treatments
  • Listen to podcasts by EMS and medical experts on topics relevant to the course
  • Use QR codes to link to skill demonstration videos and assessment sheets
  • Add QR codes to the lab drug box that link to information about each drug
  • Send text messages to a group of students to inform, remind, and assess
  • Access reference guides, protocol manuals, and ebooks
  • Track clinical skills and accomplishments
  • Share files, videos, and photos

What are other uses of smartphones in EMS education?

Participation, Polls, Links, and Contact Information

35 participants opted into a text messaging group for the presentation to receive text messages with key points texted to them every 10 minutes during the class. Participants also used their tablets and smartphones to participate in real time polling with

During the presentation participants had opportunities to vote in polls using and Here are the results:

Continue Reading

I have used previously:

Yes: 52%

No: 48%

Does your education or training organization have a policy about student use of smartphones, tablets, or other devices?

Yes: 58%

No: 39%

Don’t know: 3%

Does your policy allow student use of smartphones, tablets, or other devices?

Yes, devices are allowed: 33%

No, devices are banned: 40%

Don’t have a policy: 28%

When did you last check your e-mail/text inbox?

Since class started: 64%

Right before class: 23%

After waking up: 8%

Yesterday: 5%

When did you last send an e-mail, text message, or status update?

Since the class started: 55%

Right before class: 13%

After waking up: 13%

Yesterday: 20%

Did you check for or send an e-mail or text message last night between 0100 and 0500?

Yes: 23%

No: 78%

I use my smartphone during EMT class or training:

Yes: 75%

No: 25%

Additional Resources

Everyday EMS Tips


Google URL shortener

Thing Link

Kaywa QR Code Generator

Paramedic Tutor 12 Lead ECG Videos

Cowley College Paramedic Program Facebook page

Slide Share

101 Las Minute Study Tips applications for EMTs and Paramedics

Limmer Creative

EMS Trivial Pursuit for Training


Greg Friese, MS, NREMT-P, is the director of education for CentreLearn Solutions, LLC. He specializes in the development, production and distribution of online education for emergency responders. Greg is a leading advocate for the use of social media by EMS agencies and training organizations. Greg is a regular conference presenter, the co-host of the EMSEduCast, the founder of the blog, marathon runner, and participant in many online EMS communities. Contact him at;;; and

As unpredictable mass casualty incidents have been increasingly on the rise, the Stop the Bleed campaign aims to teach citizens how to stop severe blood loss to keep victims alive before first responders can arrive on scene.

There are other, maybe better ways to reach EMS learners.
Metro Atlanta Ambulance Service designed and built an innovative, one-of-a-kind obstacle course to supplement classroom lectures on how to properly operate the stretcher used during EMS transports. 
Firefighters gave students tours of the fire station and taught them life-saving measures to take in the event of a fire.
The Carlisle Regional Emergency Services Program trains students in multiple emergency service specialty areas to help them determine which path they will pursue.
In the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting that put local hospitals at patient capacity, Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center tested the hospital's skills on handling an MCI.
Fire, EMS and police agencies will be participating in a federally-mandated mock drill involving a plane crash at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
The internal audit shows that the trainer didn't file the paperwork correctly, and 12 out of 25 graduates did not pass the paramedics test but were still hired by Atlanta Fire Rescue.
The Prehospital Care Research Forum presents research from EMS World Expo’s International Scientific EMS Symposium.
Changes in practice require the highest possible level of statistical testing.
A new survey reveals providers’ attitudes toward and willingness to perform CP work.
If you’re reading this at EMS World Expo, challenge yourself and step out of your comfort zone.
Two mock deaths in a car and motorcycle collision brought EMS, an air medical crew, firefighters and police to the scene.
EMS personnel, firefighters and police officers took part in a drill evacuating nursing home residents in the event of a fire.
The students, who are experienced firefighters and paramedics in South Korea, traveled to the U.S. in an exchange program to learn about the agency's latest equipment and systems.