Among the various EMS conferences and educational events, the Gathering of Eagles is a different kind of beast. It is distinguished by its participants (primarily medical directors from the major U.S. EMS systems—those who make decisions and set policies for the field), by its state-of-the-art content (focused on the biggest current EMS issues and refined until the 11th hour), by its rapid-fire format (this year's presentations were limited to 10 minutes), and by its convivial, freewheeling atmosphere (which includes top docs poking ample fun at each other). The show's approach—ultimately quite serious under the jocular veneer—has resonated with the EMS community, and it has become one of the most important on the prehospital landscape.
"Part of the mystique is that no one knows what's going to be on the menu; they just know the chefs are going to cook up something magical," says Eagles program coordinator Paul Pepe, MD, EMS medical director for the city of Dallas and its metro-area BioTel system. "You'll get stuff that's truly cutting-edge. We're foxhole companions in the middle of the same stuff, and if we can help each other talk and think these things through, we all may be able to change our care for the better."
This year's show was so popular that attendees and vendors alike had to be turned away (it will move to a larger venue next year). So for this year's EMS Magazine tribute to clinical and operational excellence, we present here half a dozen of the ideas and innovations discussed at the show. Consider, if you will, how they might be adapted to your systems and benefit the patients you care for. Next year's Gathering of Eagles will be held in late February in Dallas. For more, see www.gatheringofeagles.us.