EMS approved as an emergency medicine subspecialty

The development of EMS as a subspecialty has been discussed for many years and it was approved by ABMS at its General Assembly of its members on Thursday

By EMS1 Staff

EAST LANSING, Mich. — EMS has been formally approved as a medical subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), with officials saying it will help improve patient safety and standardize industry qualification.

The recognition of EMS as a subspecialty was approved by ABMS at its General Assembly of its members on Thursday.

Organizations such as the National Association of EMS Physicians, the American College of Emergency Medicine and the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine are among those that have been working on giving EMS a voice with the ABMS.

"The purpose of subspecialty certification in EMS is to standardize physician training and qualifications for EMS practice, to improve patient safety and enhance the quality of emergency medical care provided to patients in the prehospital environment, and to facilitate further integration of prehospital patient treatment into the continuum of patient care," said Mark T. Stelle, M.D., President of the American Board of Emergency Medicine Board of Directors.

The recognition of EMS as a subspecialty has been discussed for more than 20 years, but it had yet to be formally recognized, said EMS1 columnist Mic Gunderson, president of Integral Performance Solutions (formerly the emergency medicine, fire and 911 division of HealthAnalytics).

"In terms of research and academic recognition, EMS was competing against all the other preexisting subspecialties and it wasn't really on the radar," he said.

Gunderson said those days are over, and the effects of this announcement will be a catalyst for more positive changes to come.

"If you're interested in EMS as a career pathway, now officially you can do this as a subspecialty which I think will help create more fellowship programs for physicians raise the quality of medical direction in the EMS industry and with that the level of research and academic interest," he said. "It's real now. This has far reaching implications for the future of the EMS industry."

EMS becomes the sixth subspecialty available to ABEM diplomates along with Medical Toxicology, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Sports Medicine, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, and Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

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