Steven J Davidson MD, MBA
Diplomate, American Board of Emergency Medicine
Diplomate, American Board of Preventive Medicine-Clinical Informatics
Emergency medicine is the medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of unforeseen illness or injury. The practice of emergency medicine includes the initial evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, coordination of care among multiple providers, and disposition of any patient requiring expeditious medical, surgical, or psychiatric care. It is not defined by location, but may be practiced in hospital-based and freestanding emergency departments (EDs), urgent care clinics, observation medicine units, emergency medical response vehicles, at disaster sites, or via telemedicine. It encompasses planning, oversight, and medical direction for community emergency medical response, medical control, and disaster preparedness.
Over the past decade, hospital EDs while serving as an important portal for hospital admissions, have also increasingly supported primary care practices by performing complex diagnostic workups, handling office overflow, after-hours, and weekend demand for care. Care coordination entailed in supporting primary care providers, growing patient volume, particularly of the silver tsunami of aged patients increasingly challenge the resources and operational practices of many facilities.