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Medical Direction for Emergency Services

Overseeing and directing emergency services

Medical direction is the process by which a physician or, occasionally, group of physicians guide and oversee the patient care provided by an emergency medical services (EMS) system. This includes all physician activities that are performed to improve quality of care in an EMS system.

The medical director of an EMS system is responsible for off-line medical control actions

  • Development and implementation of protocols and standing orders
  • Supervision of any initial and recertification training programs provided by the EMS agency
  • Retrospective review of the care delivered (to ensure compliance with patient care standards)
  • Liaison of activities between EMS professionals and others, including other physicians; ED personnel; and regional, state, and local EMS authorities
  • Providing input on dispatch, mutual aid, disaster planning, and hazardous materials response activities
  • General supervision of physicians who provide on-line medical control
  • Acquiring and maintaining up-to-date knowledge of EMS issues
  • Support of EMS research, where practical
  • Problem solving

Generally, an EMS system has one overall medical director for off-line activities and a group of physicians designated as the source of on-line medical control.