A Retrospective Study of Children Transferred from General Emergency Departments to a Pediatric Emergency Department: Which Transfers Are Potentially Amenable to Telemedicine?

Selina Varma*, Dana A. Schinasi, Jacqueline Ponczek, Jacqueline Baca, Norma Jean E. Simon, Carolyn C. Foster, Matthew M. Davis, Michelle Macy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To characterize children who experienced interfacility emergency department (ED) transfers with discharge home, and identify care potentially amenable to telemedicine in lieu of transfer. Study design: Retrospective cohort study (July 2016 to June 2017) of patients transferred from general EDs to an academic pediatric ED and discharged home. The primary outcome was care potentially amenable to telemedicine defined as pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) provider assessment without other in-person subspecialty evaluation, diagnostic evaluation available in a general ED (electrocardiogram, point-of-care, or urine tests), and/or referrals and medications available in a general ED. Analysis included descriptive and χ2 statistics. Results: Of the 1733 patients transferred, 529 (31%) were discharged home and 22% of those discharged home had care potentially amenable to telemedicine. Patients amenable to telemedicine were more likely to be <2 years old (32% vs 17%; P = .002) and to have neurologic (29% vs 17%; P = .005), respiratory (16% vs 4%; P < .001), or urinary (5% vs 1%; P = .004) diagnoses than those whose care was not. Eight in 10 patients received their entire diagnostic evaluation before transfer and one-half received only a PEM provider assessment. An additional 281 cases were evaluated by a subspecialist in person, received routine imaging, or routine interventions. Conclusions: Children receiving care potentially amenable to telemedicine in lieu of transfer often received their entire diagnostic evaluation before transfer; PEM provider assessment was the mainstay of care after transfer. These findings have implications for informing telemedicine to improve access to PEM expertise and potentially decrease some interfacility transfers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-132.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume230
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • interfacility transfers
  • pediatric emergency medicine
  • telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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