1.1 This practice covers the function of the emergency medical dispatcher (EMD). This function is the prompt and accurate processing of calls for emergency medical assistance. The training and practice through the use of a written or automated medical dispatch protocol is not sufficient in itself to ensure continued medically correct functioning of the EMD. Their dispatch-specific medical training and focal role in EMS has developed to such a complexity that only through a correctly structured and appropriately managed quality assurance environment can the benefits of their practice be fully realized. The philosophies of emergency medical dispatch have established new duties to which the emergency medical dispatch agency must respond. It is important that their quality assurance/quality improvement (QA/QI) activities, including initial hiring, orientation, training and certification, continuing dispatch education, recertification, and performance evaluation be given appropriate managerial attention to help ensure the ongoing safety in the performance of the EMD. This practice establishes functional guidelines for these managerial, administrative and supervisory functions.