EMS Tutorial: Overview
This tutorial covers two areas: a
general introduction to EMS plus an overview of medical oversight.
Here's where we begin. A few
definitions and concepts to jumpstart the tutorial.
Position Statement on Emergency Medical Services and Emergency Medical
Services Systems developed by the National Association of State
EMS Directors and the National Association of EMS Physicians provides
us with the following definitions:
- Medical Emergency:
A sudden and/or unanticipated medical event which requires immediate
- Emergency Medical
Services: The provision of services to patients with medical
emergencies (illness or injury).
- Emergency Medical
Services System: A comprehensive, coordinated arrangement of
resources and functions which are organized to respond in a timely,
staged manner to targeted medical emergencies, regardless of their cause
or the patient's ability to pay, and to minimize their physical and
The EMS system can be divided
into four general components: prehospital, facility (hospital or clinic),
interfacility transport and post-facility care.
Medical care provided prior to the patient's arrival at a medical facility.
Patients with a medical emergency are transported or transport themselves
to a health care facility. In urban environments this is generally a
hospital. In rural environments it may be a small,
Patients sometimes require transfer from one healthcare
facility to another healthcare facility in order to obtain the most
appropriate care. Interfacility transport can be accomplished via ground
or air transport.
- Post-facility care:
Debilitating illness or injury may require ongoing rehabilitation or
other types of support after a patient returns to the community.
This term covers all emergency care provided outside
the walls of a healthcare facility, namely prehospital care
and interfacility transport. A more correct term might
be out-of-facility health care.
a little time travel to look at a brief history of EMS.