The expanding scope of EMS: decreasing emergency department overcrowding in the United States

The ageing population has been on the rise in the United States (US) and is expected to significantly increase over the next few decades. Additionally, with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now in full effect, there's a significant increase in the amount of persons with health insurance. In turn, this is expected to cause an influx of patients seeking emergency care through our nation's emergency medical service (EMS) system and emergency departments (EDs), which is already overcrowded on a frequent basis in many areas. Experts believe this is going to significantly increase the amount of strain on an already burdened US EMS and ED system. To prevent detrimental effects from ensuing, we have to be proactive in combating this issue. Therefore, there are three options presented to overcome any adverse reactions: i) Increase the use of preventative measures in our existing EMS system; ii) Implementing the use of telemedicine into our existing EMS system; and iii) expanding the scope of practice in our EMS systems by implementing the paramedic practitioner. Of these options, we believe the paramedic practitioner will best serve the role of alleviating an already strained EMS and ED system in the US.

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