Our Emergency Medicine department has hosted two national “State of the Art” conferences on Observation Medicine, and experts have lectured on this topic at both national and international meetings. Emory has been instrumental in “setting the bar” in this area of education for residents, fellows, and faculty.


Emory has developed the model curriculum in this area which has been presented at SAEM, CORD, and ACEP. The clinical operations of an emergency department observation unit are learned through involvement in the three emergency department observation units.  These three unique settings allow physicians to learning the pathophysiology, clinical science, and clinical skills unique to observation medicine. Training includes learning to appropriately select and manage patients in the observation unit, to learn observation unit operational structure, staffing, and resources. We use a tiered curriculum for residents which is structured as follows:

  • PGYI – learn the principles of observation medicine and appropriate patient selection for the observation unit.
  • PGYII – learn to manage patients in the observation unit. Special focus training areas include the management of patients with undifferentiated chest pain, transient ischemic attack, congestive heart failure, syncope, and atrial fibrillation. 
  • PGYIII – learn to manage the observation unit, which includes attending administrative meetings, reviewing utilization and quality reports, participation in audits or protocol refinement.
  • Observation Medicine Selective – receive more in-depth training in the three tiers of service, education, and research with opportunities to participate in scholarly projects with the goal of publication.


Our department offers an Observation Fellowship.  During training physicians will learn the skills necessary to develop, manage, and refine an observation unit.  Upon completion of fellowship training, the fellow will be prepared to assume the directorship of a hospitals’ observation medicine program or chest pain center, or direct research and education in this area of medicine.