Relationship between Clinical Capabilities and Medical Equipment in the Practice of Emergency Medical Services Medicine

Originally Approved June 2018


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recognizes Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a subspecialty practice of medicine. As such, the clinical practice of EMS Medicine requires commitment to evidence-based decisions, patient safety, and continuous quality improvement throughout all aspects of EMS systems. Decisions regarding clinical care and capabilities enabled by medical equipment chosen within an EMS system should be consistent with the following principles:

  • Clinical standards of care developed, established, and promulgated by EMS physician medical directors., in the form of clinical care guidelines or protocols, form the foundation of an EMS system’s provision of patient care.
  • The medical equipment lists for apparatus and personnel in an EMS system must fully align with its clinical care guidelines or protocols of efficient, effective medical care and optimal patient outcomes.
  • The authority (eg, EMS system physician medical director, EMS system physician advisory board, regional or state EMS physician oversight committee) responsible for applicable clinical care guidelines or protocols development, establishment, and promulgation should also be the authority for related medical equipment lists for apparatus and personnel in an EMS system to ensure alignment.
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