Global Emergency Medicine: A Scoping Review of the Literature from 2020


Indi Trehan, Sean M. Kivlehan, Kamna S. Balhara, Joseph Bonney, Braden J. Hexom, Amelia Y. Pousson, Nana Serwaa A. Quao, Megan M. Rybarczyk, Anand Selvam, Benjamin D. Nicholson, Nidhi Bhaskar, Torben K. Becker, and Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review (GEMLR) Group. 7/2021. “Global Emergency Medicine: A Scoping Review of the Literature from 2020.” Academic Emergency Medicine: Official Journal of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. Read Publication


Objective: To identify, screen, highlight, review, and summarize some of the most rigorously conducted and impactful original research and review articles in global emergency medicine (EM) published in 2020 in the peer-reviewed and gray literature.

Methods: A broad systematic search of peer-reviewed publications related to global EM indexed on PubMed and in the gray literature was conducted. The titles and abstracts of the articles on this list were screened by members of the Global Emergency Medicine Literature Review team to identify those that met our criteria of original research or review articles in the domains of Disaster and Humanitarian Response, Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings, and Emergency Medicine Development. Those articles that met these screening criteria were then scored using one of three scoring templates appropriate to the article type. Those articles that scored in the top 5% then underwent in-depth narrative summarization.

Results: The 2020 GEMLR search initially identified 35,970 articles, more than 50% more than last year’s search. From these, 364 were scored based on their full text. Nearly three-fourths of the scored articles constituted original research, of which nearly three-fourths employed quantitative research methods. Nearly 10% of the articles identified this year were directly related to COVID-19. Research involving Emergency Care in Resource-Limited Settings again constituted most of the articles in this year’s review, accounting for more than 60% of the literature scored. A total of 20 articles underwent in-depth narrative critiques.

Conclusions: The number of studies relevant to global EM identified by our search was very similar to last year. Revisions to our methodology to identify a broader range of research were successful in identifying more qualitative research and studies related to Disaster and Humanitarian Response. The number of COVID-19-related articles is likely to continue to increase in subsequent years.