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 select and manage patients in the observation unit, learning observation unit operational structure, staffing, and resources.

Our tiered curriculum for residents is structured as follows:


  • Principles of observation medicine
    • Definition of observation services
    • Settings for observation care
  • Patient selection
  • Approach to low-risk chest pain


  • Stress testing: indications and types
  • TIA care in the EDOU
  • Heart failure care in the EDOU


  • How to start and run an observation unit
  • Protocol design
  • Observation billing
  • Observation medicine research

Suggested reading list for Observation Medicine curriculum →

Additional readings:

Wheatley M, Baugh C, Osborne A, Clark C, Shayne P, Ross M. A Model Longitudinal Observation Medicine Curriculum for an Emergency Medicine Residency. Acad Emer Med 2016, 23:482-492.

Ross M, Hockenberry JM, Mutter R, Barrett M, Wheatley M, Pitts SR. Protocol-Driven Emergency Department Observation Units Offer Savings, Shorter Stays, and Reduced Admissions. Health Affairs 2013, 32(12):2149-2156.


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.