In the past two decades, emergency physicians have increasingly looked beyond their national borders to examine how emergency medicine is practised elsewhere in the world. A major result of their efforts is international emergency medicine, which can be defined as the area of emergency medicine concerned with the development and delivery of emergency medical care in the world. Several international trends are currently occurring in emergency medicine, including an increasing number of venues for information exchange, the spread of emergency medicine practice guidelines, an increasing number of international collaborations, and an increasing number of transnational special interest groups in emergency medicine. A closely related trend is the spread of the specialty model of emergency medicine, a key organizational system in which emergency medicine is viewed as a uniquely integrated horizontal body of medical knowledge and skills concerning the acute phases of all types of disease and injury. Multiple challenges await those involved in international emergency medicine, including the need for internationally accepted definitions, a ‘systems approach’ to analysing emergency medicine systems, and more useful and affordable information. A related challenge is the need for effective consensus-based processes, including international standardization processes. Many of these challenges may be met through the effective leadership of international emergency medicine organizations.
aDepartment of Emergency Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA, USA
bDepartment of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University ‘A. Avogadro’ School of Medicine, Ospedale Maggiore della Carita, Novara, Italy
Correspondence to Jeffrey L. Arnold, MD, 156 Cambridge Circle, Longmeadow, MA 01106, USA.
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