The Critical Role of Emergency Care in Health Systems
Jon Mark Hirshon1
1TBD, University of Maryland School of Medicine, United States of America
Emergency care, and the demand for emergency care services, have grown significantly over the past 50 years in the United States and globally. Recent literature indicates that about half of the world’s 28 million annual deaths are the result of medical emergencies, and that the majority of this burden is borne by lower- and middle-income countries. The emergency department is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provides care to those acutely ill or injured -often without regard to ability to pay. The care provided in emergency departments encompasses a wide range of services, addressing acute life- and limb- threatening complications of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, injuries and pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization, there are essential aspects of emergency care systems that are important for health care system strengthening, including specific components related to prehospital, facility-based, early operative and critical care. However, emergency care services and the provision of emergency care are not well acknowledged or well-funded within healthcare systems of many countries despite the important and growing role these play in the delivery of needed healthcare. This presentation will briefly discuss the growth of emergency care globally, focusing on the growth in a developed country, the United States, as well as a middle-income country, Egypt. It will highlight steps towards increasing incorporation of emergency care services in healthcare systems as well as the continued challenges with improving the delivery of emergency care. Many of the interventions needed to improve emergency care systems are cost-effective, sustainable, and can substantially improve patient outcomes. Further incorporation of emergency care services in all countries, such as envisioned in the WHO Emergency Care Services framework, will help progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal of good health and well-being for all.