1. Rosenblum, Andrew J. MSPH
  2. Wend, Christopher M. BS, NRP, FP-C
  3. Ide, Reef A.
  4. Owens, Matthew A. BSHS, NRP
  5. Cutchins V, Clifford A. MD
  6. Levy, Matthew J. DO, MSc, FAEMS, FACEP, NRP


Context: Emergency medical services (EMS) medicine continues to expand and mature as a recognized subspeciality within emergency medicine. In the United States, EMS physicians historically supported training, protocol development, and EMS clinician credentialing. In the past, only limited programs existed in which prehospital physicians were engaged in the direct and routine care of prehospital patients; however, a growing number of EMS programs are recognizing the value and impact of direct EMS physician involvement in prehospital patient care.


Program: A large suburban, volunteer-based EMS agency implemented a volunteer prehospital physician program where providers routinely responded to emergency calls for service.


Implementation: Beginning in November 2019, a cadre of board-certified physicians completed a field preceptorship and local protocol orientation. Once complete, the physicians were released to function and respond independently to high acuity emergency calls or any call at their discretion. Prehospital physicians were authorized to utilize their full scope of practice and expected to provide field mentorship to traditional prehospital clinicians.


Evaluation: This study systematically evaluated a prehospital physician program for public health relevance, sustainability, and population health impact using the RE-AIM framework. A retrospective descriptive analysis was performed on the role and responses by a cohort of prehospital physicians using dispatch data and electronic medical records.


Discussion: Over the 17-month study period, 9 prehospital physicians responded to 482 calls, predominately cardiac arrests, traumatic injuries, and cardiac/chest pain. The physicians performed 99 procedures and administered 113 medications. Ultimately, the program added physician-level care to the prehospital setting in an ongoing and sustainable way. The routine placement of physicians in the prehospital environment can help benefit patients by enhancing access to advanced clinical knowledge and skills, while also benefiting EMS clinicians through opportunities for enhanced patient-side training, education, and medical control.