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Regionalized Care for Time-critical Conditions: Lessons Learned From Existing Networks

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Abstract:

Abstract

The 2010 Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM) consensus conference “Beyond Regionalization” aimed to place the design of a 21st century emergency care delivery system at the center of emergency medicine’s (EM’s) health policy research agenda. To examine the lessons learned from existing regional systems, consensus conference organizers convened a panel discussion made up of experts from the fields of acute care surgery, interventional cardiology, acute ischemic stroke, cardiac arrest, critical care medicine, pediatric EM, and medical toxicology. The organizers asked that each member provide insight into the barriers that slowed network creation and the solutions that allowed them to overcome barriers. For ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) management, the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) Mission: Lifeline aims to increase compliance with existing guidelines through improvements in the chain of survival, including emergency medical services (EMS) protocols. Increasing use of therapeutic hypothermia post–cardiac arrest through a network of hospitals in Virginia has led to dramatic improvements in outcome. A regionalized network of acute stroke management in Cincinnati was discussed, in addition to the effect of pediatric referral centers on pediatric capabilities of surrounding facilities. The growing importance of telemedicine to a variety of emergencies, including trauma and critical care, was presented. Finally, the importance of establishing a robust reimbursement mechanism was illustrated by the threatened closure of poison control centers nationwide. The panel discussion added valuable insight into the possibilities of maximizing patient outcomes through regionalized systems of emergency care. A primary challenge remaining is for EM to help to integrate the existing and developing disease-based systems of care into a more comprehensive emergency care system.

Academic Emergency Medicine 2010; 17:1354–1358 © 2010 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00940.x

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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