Unique characteristics of emergency care research: Scope, populations, and infrastructure

D. Mark Courtney, Robert W. Neumar, Arjun K. Venkatesh, Amy H. Kaji, Charles B. Cairns, Eric Lavonas, Lynne D. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) program and the 2006 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report on the future of emergency care highlight the need for coordinated emergency care research (ECR) to improve the outcomes of acutely ill or injured patients. In response, the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) sponsored the Emergency Care Research Network (ECRN) Conference in Washington, DC, on May 28, 2008. The conference objectives were to identify the unique nature of ECR and the infrastructure needed to support ECR networks and to understand the optimal role of emergency medicine (EM) and other acute care specialties in research networks. Prior to the conference, participants responded to questions addressing the relevant issues that would form the basis of breakout session discussions; two of these breakout questions are summarized in this report: 1) what makes EM research unique? and 2) what are the critical components needed to establish and maintain networked ECR? Emergency care research was defined as "the systematic examination of patient care that is expected to be continuously available to diverse populations presenting with undifferentiated symptoms of acute illness, or acutely decompensated chronic illness, and whose outcomes depend on timely diagnosis and treatment." The chain of ECR may extend beyond the physical emergency department (ED) in both place and time and integrate prehospital care, as well as short- and long-term outcome determination. ECR may extend beyond individual patients and have as the focus of investigation the actual system of emergency care delivery itself and its effects on the community with respect to access to care, use of resources, and cost. Infrastructure determinants of research network success identified by conference participants included multidisciplinary collaboration, accurate long-term outcome determination, novel information technology, intellectual infrastructure, and wider network relationships that extend beyond the ED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-994
Number of pages5
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency care research networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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