“At present, many national health systems are oriented to specific diseases rather than cross-cutting ‘systems’ interventions that might have a larger long-term effect by strengthening systemwide capacity. The natural history and epidemiology of emergencies emphasize that highly functional health systems, including intact and codified referral networks, are necessary to improve survival of patients with acute diseases.”
The theme of the 14th annual Academic Emergency Medicine consensus conference was “Global Health and Emergency Care: A Research Agenda.” The goal of the conference was to create a robust and measurable research agenda for evaluating emergency health care delivery systems. The concept of health systems includes the organizations, institutions, and resources whose primary purpose is to promote, restore, and/or maintain health. This article further conceptualizes the vertical and horizontal delivery of acute and emergency care in low-resource settings by defining specific terminology for emergency care platforms and discussing how they fit into broader health systems models. This was accomplished through discussion surrounding four principal questions touching upon the interplay between health systems and acute and emergency care. This research agenda is intended to assist countries that are in the early stages of integrating emergency services into their health systems and are looking for guidance to maximize their development and health systems planning efforts.