Five Questions With: NREMT and CAPCE
EMS World: How did this initiative between CAPCE and the National Registry develop?
Jay Scott: This is a project that started in 2014 and it is the natural evolution of two organizations coming together to do something very innovative—and free—for EMS providers. By working together, we were committed to making the recertification process easier while also improving the reliability of the records. By sharing our continuing education records directly with the National Registry, upon request from the individual EMT or paramedic, our system could directly populate their continuing education record.
Andy Gienapp: As CAPCE's database continued to grow and capture EMS providers’ information, it became apparent that we could do more by partnering with the National Registry. We could make it easier for individuals to use the CAPCE-accredited courses to meet the recertification requirements. This project was a logical outgrowth in how we capture and track information as both CAPCE and the National Registry matured. Both organizations have a vested interest and strongly believe in the importance of high quality continuing education for EMTs and paramedics.
If I could cut to the essence of what CAPCE is—and why we exist—it’s because we believe that high quality continuing education is important. Continuing education should be done right, it should be worthwhile, and it should be meaningful. So many states rely on the National Registry to track and manage the continued competency of EMS personnel, while relying on CAPCE to bring credibility and value into the world of continuing education. The exchange of information between CAPCE and the National Registry is a natural fit.
What is the ultimate goal with this new functionality?
Donnie Woodyard: To maintain National EMS Certification, EMS professionals are required to submit proof of either State EMS Office-approved or CAPCE-approved continuing education. Until now, entering the records into the individual’s National Registry profile was a time-consuming, manual process: individuals manually entered the course details into our system, our staff reviewed the records. Further, the submitted recertification applications are randomly audited.
Last year, when we launched Recert 2.0, we added the ability for all Nationally Certified EMS Personnel to create a Professional Transcript. The transcript functionality allows EMS personnel to collect, record, and store their professional education—including digital copies of certificates—in one location, for free.
Now, with the new integration with CAPCE, registrants can directly import their complete CAPCE transcript—including all course details—from the CAPCE database into their National Registry account. This new functionality not only saves time for the individual, it provides our staff immediate verification that the course information is correct and reliable. We know that CAPCE-approved courses meet our recertification standards.
JS: As EMS providers complete continuing education during the two-year recertification cycle, those records can now be added to their National Registry recertification application quickly and easily. It makes their lives easier, saves them a lot of time and a lot of effort. Part of the hope is that we eliminate the last-minute "I lost all my records, I don't know where my certificates are, I can't find them.” The recertification process is easier, streamlined, and keeps EMS providers working in the field.
What do you think is the most difficult part about CE record-keeping for providers?
DW: As a paramedic myself, I have over two decades of miscellaneous certificates and files stored in boxes and file folders. I’m always concerned about misplacing a certificate, or forgetting the dates or specific course details.
This database integration solves these challenges for CAPCE-accredited courses: the course information is entered into the CAPCE system by the course sponsor and the complete record can be imported directly into my National Registry transcript. Not only is it time-saving, the data is guaranteed to be accurate. From the National Registry’s perspective, we now have primary source validation for all CAPCE courses. This will save significant time processing recertification applications and reviewing audited applications.
JS: I've been Nationally Registered for years, and I can tell you that the recertification process was not a simple task. Remembering and correctly inputting the course details was time consuming.
What about this new functionality are you most excited about?
DW: We're excited about what it means for both the profession and the individual. Having a single, centrally located professional transcript—with primary source verification—will allow Nationally Certified EMS personnel to track their continuing education over the course of their entire career. The CAPCE integration eliminates the manual entry of over two million courses every year!
JS: If we can use our data to simplify the process and reduce the amount of time spent completing it, then I think we've dramatically helped EMS providers in the country. That's always the goal—to do what we can to make their lives easier. Here's a perfect opportunity for two organizations that have worked together for a long time to take the next step to really assist those who treat the sick and injured day in, day out, manage their continuing education hours, stay certified and keep practicing in the field.
Can you explain how this new feature changes the recertification process?
JS: When you take a CAPCE-accredited course, that course completion comes to us daily from the accredited education provider. With this new integration, any Nationally Registered EMT, advanced-EMT, or paramedic that wants those records to be imported directly into their recertification file can go into their account and say, "I give the National Registry permission to gather all my CAPCE-accredited courses and place them in my recertification folder,” so I don’t have to enter them myself.
DW: I would add that this functionality has been something that the EMS community has requested for a long time. This is just one example of how organizations work in collaboration to advance the national EMS community.
Andy Gienapp is the manager for the Wyoming Office of EMS. Andy is a paramedic whose career in EMS spans nearly thirty years and has a wide variety of both public and private roles.
Donnie Woodyard, Jr. is the chief operations officer at the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians with 25 years of service in EMS. He is a paramedic and previously served as a State EMS Director, and led international EMS system development projects.
Jay M. Scott is the executive director of the Commission on Accreditation for Pre-hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE). He is a Nationally Registered career paramedic with over 30 years experience. He is adjunct faculty for the Brookhaven Community College Paramedic Program, Regional Faculty for the AHA and the former chair of the AHA Regional Emergency Cardiac Care Committee.