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6.3 Emergency medicine: More than you ever wanted to know (ER)




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This article is from the ER FAQ, by Rose Cooper cooper@acm.cse.msu.edu with numerous contributions by others.

6.3 Emergency medicine: More than you ever wanted to know (ER)

The International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM) was formed a
couple years ago to act as a sort of global board to coordinate and support
the activities of emergency physicians world-wide. It currently has four
member bodies: the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the
Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP), the British Association
of Accident and Emergency Medicine (BAAEM), and the Austroasian College of
Emergency Medicine (ACEM); the current president of IFEM is also ACEP
president Dr. Nancy Auer. Each of these organizations tries to represent
the interests of its members before governments, regional health boards,
insurance companies, and just about anyone who wants a piece of an emerge
doc. They set policies and standards of care: ACEP is very involved in
establishing clinical guidelines in such fields as patient sedation and
analgesia; CAEP has published recommendations on asthma management that
are being accepted internationally. It's not yet really clear what role
IFEM will have in all of this, as it is still in its infancy.

In the United States, at least, there are three more agencies that
hold sway over the politics of emergency medicine -- the American Academy
of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
(SAEM), and the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM). We'll go
backwards -- the ABEM is responsible for administering the "board exams" in
emergency medicine: the big, big exam that is almost a requirement for most
teaching positions in the United States and Canada these days. Qualified
doctors apply to write the exams, and about 60% of them pass on an annual
basis.

The Society for Academic Emergency Medicine is a neat little bunch of
people who are dedicated to furthering the interests of academia and
research in the youngest of the medical specialties. They're a fun group of
folks who like to mumble things about "ANOVA variance" and "chi-square
tests," and are usually desperate for patients to enroll in their studies.
Nevertheless, they do a wonderful job lobbying for funding and promoting
the interests of academic physicians in this discipline.

AAEM is...strange. Their basic premise seems to be that board
certification is required before you can call yourself an emergency
physician, and I don't have a problem with that. Where I start to have
concerns is when you look at their policy statements, which appear to be
diametrically opposed to ACEP's. It seems, to me at least, that AAEM's method
of setting policy is to do exactly the opposite of whatever it is ACEP is
doing, and engaging in ACEP bashing, which while I'm not going to say isn't
fair (ACEP is not perfect -- none of these groups are), I am going to say
it's counterproductive and probably not very useful in the long term.

Most of these organizations have official journals and Web sites -- more
on the periodicals later, but here are some of the Web sites:

* American College of Emergency Physicians
<http://www.acep.org/>
* Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians
<http://www.interchange.ubc.ca/grunfeld/caep.html>
* Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
<http://www.saem.org/>
* American Academy of Emergency Medicine
<http://www.aaem.org/>
* American Board of Emergency Medicine
<http://www.abem.org/>
* Austroasian College of Emergency Medicine
<http://www.acem.org.au/>
* British Association of Accident and Emergency Medicine
<http://www.baaem.org.uk/>

There are a lot of web sites out there dedicated to emergency medicine,
too. A complete list wold exceed the scope of this document; visit
<http://www.yahoo.com/Health/Medicine/Emergency_Medicine/> and follow
the links you'll find there.

 

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