Document Type

Plan B - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biology and Microbiology

First Advisor

Greg Heiberger


Freestanding emergency departments have become more and more common over the years and have started to pop up in many states across the country. A freestanding emergency department is a facility that provides healthcare in the form of emergency services separate from those at a hospital. FEDs can be seen as independent structures that are distinct from hospital-based emergency rooms and urgent facilities. Just as freestanding emergency departments have spread across the country in a bit of a frenzy, another prevalent issue has been sweeping the country, the closure of rural hospitals. Over the last decade rural hospitals have struggled to survive due to severe financial strains. Currently FEDs are more frequently located within suburban or metropolitan areas, however it is believed the concept of FED’s could work well in rural areas with little to no emergency care access. The growing popularity and success of telehealth services proposes that services like this may contribute to the success of FED’s in rural areas. This literature review will explore FED’s in more detail and whether they can be the answer to the problem of rural hospital closures.

One sentence summary: This review explores the concept of FEDs, recent success stories, and the possibility of FEDs with the incorporation of telehealth services in rural communities as a solution to rural hospital closures.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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