ACADEMIC EMERGENCY MEDICINE 2011; 18:1278–1282 © 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine
Emergency department (ED) crowding continues to be a major public health problem in the United States and around the world. In June 2011, the Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conference focused on exploring interventions to alleviate ED crowding and to generate a series of research agendas on the topic. As part of the conference, a panel of leaders in the emergency care community shared their perspectives on emergency care, crowding, and some of the fundamental issues facing emergency care today. The panel participants included Drs. Bruce Siegel, Sandra Schneider, Peter Viccellio, and Randy Pilgrim. The panel was moderated by Dr. Jesse Pines. Dr. Siegel’s comments focused on his work on Urgent Matters, which conducted two multihospital collaboratives related to improving ED crowding and disseminating results. Dr. Schneider focused on the future of ED crowding measures, the importance of improving our understanding of ED boarding and its implications, and the need for the specialty of emergency medicine (EM) to move beyond the discussion of unnecessary visits. Dr. Viccellio’s comments focused on several areas, including the need for a clear message about unnecessary ED visits by the emergency care community and potential solutions to improve ED crowding. Finally, Dr. Pilgrim focused on the effect of effective leadership and management in crowding interventions and provided several examples of how these considerations directly affected the success or failure of well-constructed ED crowding interventions. This article describes each panelist’s comments in detail.