Academic emergency medicine's future

Kenneth V. Iserson*, James Adams, William H. Cordell, Louis Graff, John Halamka, Louis Ling, W. Frank Peacock IV, David Sklar, Tom Stair

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Emergency medicine (EM) will change over the next 20 years more than any other specialty. Its proximity to and interrelationships with the community, nearly all other clinicians (physicians and nonphysicians), and scientific/technologic developments guarantee this. While emergency physicians (EPs) will continue to treat both emergent and nonemergent patients, over the next decades our interventions, methods, and place in the medical care system will probably become unrecognizable from the EM we now practice and deliver. This paper, developed by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) Task Force on Academic Emergency Medicine's Future, was designed to promote discussions about and actions to optimize our specialty's future. After briefly discussing the importance of futures planning, it suggests 'best-case,' 'worst-case,' and most probable future courses for academic EM over the next decades. The authors predict that EPs will practice a much more technologic and accurate form of medicine, with diagnostic, patient, reference, and consultant information rapidly available to them. They will be at the center of an extensive consultation network stemming from major medical centers and the purveyors of a sophisticated home health system, very similar to or even more advanced than what is now delivered on hospital wards. The key to planning for our specialty is for EM organizations, academic centers, and individuals to act now to optimize our possible future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Academic emergency medicine
  • Emergency services
  • Forecasting
  • Health planning
  • Health services needs and demands
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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