The Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health System.

Institute of Medicine; IOM

In September 2003, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee began a detailed examination of emergency care in the United States, culminating in the release of this three-volume report. Each report respectively addresses and creates a vision for the future of hospital-based emergency care and trauma, prehospital emergency medical services, and the particular issues around care for children. The volumes are entitled Hospital-Based Emergency Care: At the Breaking Point; Emergency Medical Services At the Crossroads; and Emergency Care for Children: Growing Pains (links provided below). Issues discussed include overcrowding, fragmentation of care, a shortage of on-call specialists, a lack of disaster preparedness, and shortcomings in pediatric care. Recommendations call for Congress to support a 5-year demonstration project to develop best practices at the state level that can address the many concerns raised by this report.