The Role of EMS in Regionalized Systems of Care.

Drennan IR, Verbeek PR.


The parallel advancement of prehospital and in-hospital patient care has provided impetus for the development and implementation of regionalized systems of health care for patients suffering from acute, life-threatening injury and illness. Regardless of the patient's clinical condition, regionalized systems of care revolve around the premise of providing the right care to the right patient at the right time. Current regionalization strategies have shown improvements in the time to patient treatment and in patient outcome, with the incorporation of emergency medical services (EMS) bypass as a key component of the system of care. This article discusses the emerging role of EMS as a critical component of regionalized systems essential to ensure effective and efficient use of resources to improve patient outcome. We also examine some of the benefits and barriers to implementation of regionalized systems of care and avenues for future research.