January 23, 2024

From the Chair

Margarita E. Pena, MD, FACEP
Chair, Observation Medicine Section

As mentioned at the ACEP Observation Section meeting, ACEP has begun to create an observation unit accreditation process. The first observation medicine practice guidelines were issued by ACEP in 1988. Since then, the Observation Medicine Section, established in 2001, has contributed to updated guidelines, most recently the ACEP State of the Art: Observation Units in the Emergency Department Policy Resource and Education Paper. 

Over the past 30+ years, emergency medicine has established itself as the leader in observation medicine. It is through the wide body of literature almost exclusively by emergency physicians that has helped to define an observation unit, optimal methods of patient selection, operational processes, quality improvement, evidence-based clinical pathways, and management principles and strategies. Therefore, through accreditation, ACEP seeks to achieve an overarching goal of improving the quality of care to all observation status patients and to promote and incentivize facilities with observation units or preparing to start an observation unit to meet the criteria of Type I observation units as defined by the ACEP Policy Resource and Education Paper. We are excited to begin this journey that is over 30 years in the making.