Updated framework on quality and safety in emergency medicine

Kim Hansen, Adrian Boyle, Brian Holroyd, Georgina Phillips, Jonathan Benger, Lucas B. Chartier, Fiona Lecky, Samuel Vaillancourt, Peter Cameron, Grzegorz Waligora, Lisa Kurland, Melinda Truesdale, on behalf of the IFEM Quality and Safety Special Interest Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Quality and safety of emergency care is critical. Patients rely on emergency medicine (EM) for accessible, timely and high-quality care in addition to providing a 'safety-net' function. Demand is increasing, creating resource challenges in all settings. Where EM is well established, this is recognised through the implementation of quality standards and staff training for patient safety. In settings where EM is developing, immense system and patient pressures exist, thereby necessitating the availability of tiered standards appropriate to the local context. Methods: The original quality framework arose from expert consensus at the International Federation of Emergency Medicine (IFEM) Symposium for Quality and Safety in Emergency Care (UK, 2011). The IFEM Quality and Safety Special Interest Group members have subsequently refined it to achieve a consensus in 2018. Results: Patients should expect EDs to provide effective acute care. To do this, trained emergency personnel should make patient-centred, timely and expert decisions to provide care, supported by systems, processes, diagnostics, appropriate equipment and facilities. Enablers to high-quality care include appropriate staff, access to care (including financial), coordinated emergency care through the whole patient journey and monitoring of outcomes. Crowding directly impacts on patient quality of care, morbidity and mortality. Quality indicators should be pragmatic, measurable and prioritised as components of an improvement strategy which should be developed, tailored and implemented in each setting. Conclusion: EDs globally have a remit to deliver the best care possible. IFEM has defined and updated an international consensus framework for quality and safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-442
Number of pages6
JournalEmergency Medicine Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • emergency care systems
  • emergency department
  • quality improvement
  • risk management
  • safety

Cite this