Last updated: February 16, 2021

American Heart Association Updated Electronic Heartcode Provider Cards

In a world of electronic convenience, online education and hyper-diligence the American Heart Association has once again entered the market in a grand 1990’s way. First they released their much awaited online educational model. Well not quite. They actually released it as a “Blended Learning Experience” that simply means you pay to sit through the online course, then you search the world over for an instructor to pay to review the online course and practice the skills that you just reviewed online in an effort to avoid the classroom model.

They have done it again. Today they announced that as of January 2018 all American Heart Association certification cards will be issued in “ecard format.” On the surface that sounds like a great idea. BUT and there is always a BUT; the AHA electronic card is more cumbersome and less secure than their paper version. It has been around for a while but many hospitals refuse to accept them and most instructors don’t like using them. Leaving the AHA with only one choice. Make it the ONLY way to issue their cards. There are only a few steps that the student and the hospitals must follow.

  1. The student attends the course and provides an email address to the instructor.
  2. The instructor then requests the appropriate number of cards from their Community Training Center (CTC)
  3. The instructor then “issues” cards to each student via their email address.
  4. Each individual student must create an account with the AHA and assign that account a password (for each course attended).
  5. They must fill out a questionnaire (Continuing Quality Improvement) evaluating the instructor. It is not lost on me that it also evaluates whether the student was required to purchase a book for the course. This has been an ongoing problem with people sharing books or not buying them at all. This is purely a sales tool.
  6. They can then “claim their card”
  7. The hospital must then log on to each employees account and validate the card. That means if there are 35 nurses who have certified this week, the individual responsible for maintaining documentation must log onto the AHA site 35 times under each student’s provided user name and password to verify the certifications.

This system has led to hospitals and ambulance services either refusing to accept AHA electronic cards (no longer an option) or to require the student to “print” the card. This results in a certification card printed on plain paper with no security features at all. The current AHA printed cards have multiple imbedded security features making reproduction extremely difficult. No more. Now it can be done easily with any photo editing software and printed on plain paper.

Congratulations American Heart Association. You have once again spent millions and inconvenienced thousands; all to fix something that wasn’t broken in the first place!