National EMS Week happens this year on May 16-22, 2021. First authorized in 1974 by President Gerald Ford, the proclamation dedicating the week came on the heels of the EMS Systems Act, which provided funds to create more than 300 EMS systems around the country. It remains a time to express recognition and gratitude to Emergency Medicine (EM) practitioners and their vital work in our communities.
The theme for this 46th annual celebration is "This is EMS: Caring for Our Communities." EMS personnel spend their lives safeguarding the health and well-being of everyone they come in contact with, and they deserve to be celebrated. The week presents the chance to do so.
National EMS week is also an excellent time to raise public awareness about EMS’s critical role in the community.
The Importance of EM Physicians
EM departments must respond to whatever is thrown at them. They spend long hours on their feet in a job where every day can be dramatically different. Undoubtedly, one of the most rewarding medical professions is a highly stressful one as physicians have to make decisions rapidly and lead teams who must be at the top of their game day in and day out.
EM physicians treat patients who experience any type of medical emergency. An EMS staff takes care of patients involved in car accidents, accidental drownings, and many more crises that require extensive care. They treat heart attacks, accidental poisonings, burns, drug reactions, and gunshot wounds for individuals. Because of shock, injury, physical impairment, mental illness, or intoxication, these patients are unable to communicate their needs. In all of these cases, a doctor's diagnosis is essential to the success of treatment.
EMS is vital to saving lives. As the field expands, practitioners will continue to be on the front line in handling medical emergencies. We honor the fallen who gave their lives saving others, as well as those who continue to put their safety at risk every day. The importance of EM physicians and staff cannot be overestimated.
What's New in the World of Emergency Medicine
A new emergency healthcare landscape has been accelerated by new technology. The following are new developments in emergency medicine:
Because serious adverse events can result during emergency intubation, ketamine or etomidate are now being used for induction. These have been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular instability compared with propofol or midazolam.
Rather than using direct laryngoscopy (DL) for endotracheal intubation in infants with difficult intubation, EM physicians are now relying on video laryngoscopy (VL). VL increases first pass success compared to DL, particularly in infants.
Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
It has been determined that children with torus (buckle) fractures of the distal radius or ulna do not require orthopedic follow-up after initial treatment. For this reason, splinting and home management have been proposed.
Physical Therapy for Patients with Acute Lumbosacral Radiculopathy
Guidance for managing acute lumbosacral radiculopathy in patients includes remaining physically active and incorporating exercise. A regimen of physical therapy has been added as part of conservative management. This has been proven to help with greater symptom improvement without advanced imagery, surgery, or additional health care.
Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (e-FAST) is a bedside ultrasound examination of four abdominal areas, the lungs, and the heart. It is being used to aid in the rapid detection of intra-abdominal injury (IAI) in unstable children with blunt torso trauma. Still, it alone should not be used to determine the need for further investigation.
Emerging Trends in the Field
Amid a rapidly changing healthcare environment, it's an excellent time to regroup and formulate an updated vision for emergency medicine.
New trends in the field of emergency medicine include a focus on:
Emergency medicine has traditionally been a responsive treatment setting where patients were stabilized and then sent home or moved to another level of care. Under a value-based care system, EM personnel will take a more active role in care transitions and patient outcomes. Safe discharge and follow-up care, especially for high-risk patients, is now the responsibility of emergency providers.
By supporting patients in this new way, recurring ED visits and unnecessary hospitalizations are prevented. Patients receive better disease management at home or on an outpatient basis. A data-driven approach combined with a case-management mindset will create new, more effective processes while identifying high-risk patients.
Boosted by relaxed government regulations, telehealth surged in the past year, reflecting the demand for socially distant care. This trend will likely continue as providers and patients adapt to new technology and realize its benefits. Patients are taking advantage of telehealth for low-acuity, unscheduled care, especially. This will cut down on overutilization of the ED, at least for the foreseeable future.
Financial Recovery for the Health System
Patients are starting to return to in-person clinical settings for elective procedures and more. Overall, healthcare costs should be reduced as emergency medicine use settles into a more favorable pattern. While financial recovery of the healthcare system is still unclear for many, hospitals are seeking the best path forward in the new normal. Data-driven management seems to be the key to successfully navigating the changes.
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If your career needs re-invention, or you are simply ready for your next adventure in the medical field, VISTA can help. In business for over 30 years, we aim to make people's lives better by meeting growing demand in healthcare.
For physicians, nurse practitioners, certified registered nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, and residents, we offer locums tenens positions around the country. If you desire to travel or yearn to be where your services are most needed, locums tenens offers flexibility and competitive compensation to practitioners who want to make a difference. Contact us today to discover your future.