The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released the 2016 Rural Emergency Medical Communications Demonstration Project (REMCDP) Closeout Report. The report highlights the grant recipient’s accomplishments and lessons learned throughout the period of performance, which ended April 30, 2019. The report also identifies how CISA is sharing REMCDP information and knowledge with other rural communities to replicate its successes and plans to improve rural emergency medical communications through technical assistance, services, and various activities.
Congress authorized CISA to establish the REMCDP, a $2 million competitive grant program, with awards in 2016 and 2018; this report focuses on the 2016 award. The 2016 grant was awarded to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), which used existing communications infrastructure to improve operational effectiveness and provided communications training to enable improved rural medical services through its First Hands Program. UMMC hosted 293 classes during the grant period of performance with more than 5,400 participants representing 79 of Mississippi’s 82 counties. These classes combined medical and land mobile radio communications education with hands-on training to empower non-medical first responders providing aid.
The report includes several lessons learned identified by UMMC, as well as recommendations for future action. Lessons learned include implementing flexible data gathering techniques, adjusting course materials to meet participant familiarity, and leveraging the project champion to identify training partners to handle program demand. CISA will continue to develop tools, templates, and training materials to assist other rural communities, mitigate challenges, apply lessons learned, and ultimately enable communities to replicate REMCDP’s successes.