Analysis of Racial and Ethnic Diversity of Population Served and Imaging Used in US Children's Hospital Emergency Departments

Margaret E. Samuels-Kalow*, Heidi G. De Souza, Mark I. Neuman, Elizabeth Alpern, Jennifer R. Marin, Jennifer Hoffmann, Matt Hall, Paul L. Aronson, Alon Peltz, Jordee Wells, Colleen K. Gutman, Harold K. Simon, Kristen Shanahan, Monika K. Goyal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Importance: Lower rates of diagnostic imaging have been observed among Black children compared with White children in pediatric emergency departments. Although the racial composition of the pediatric population served by each hospital differs, it is unclear whether this is associated with overall imaging rates at the hospital level, and in particular how it may be associated with the difference in imaging rates between Black and White children at a given hospital. Objective: To examine the association between the diversity of the pediatric population seen at each pediatric ED and variation in diagnostic imaging. Design, Setting, and Participants: Cross-sectional analysis of ED visits by patients younger than 18 years at 38 children's hospitals from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2019, using data from the Pediatric Health Information System. Data were analyzed from April to September 2021. Exposures: Proportion of patients from minoritized groups cared for at each hospital. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome was receipt of an imaging test defined as radiography, ultrasonography, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging; adjusted odds ratios (aORs) were calculated to measure differences in imaging by race and ethnicity by hospital, and the correlation between the proportion of patients from minoritized groups cared for at each hospital and the aOR for receipt of diagnostic imaging by race and ethnicity was examined. Results: There were 12310344 ED visits (3477674 [28.3%] among Hispanic patients; 3212915 [26.1%] among non-Hispanic Black patients; 4415747 [35.9%] among non-Hispanic White patients; 6487660 [52.7%] among female patients) by 5883664 pediatric patients (mean [SD] age, 5.84 [5.23] years) to the 38 hospitals during the study period, of which 3527866 visits (28.7%) involved at least 1 diagnostic imaging test. Diagnostic imaging was performed in 1508382 visits (34.2%) for non-Hispanic White children, 790961 (24.6%) for non-Hispanic Black children, and 907222 (26.1%) for Hispanic children (P <.001). Non-Hispanic Black patients were consistently less likely to receive diagnostic imaging than non-Hispanic White patients at each hospital, and for all imaging modalities. There was a significant correlation between the proportion of patients from minoritized groups cared for at the hospital and greater imaging difference between non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black patients (correlation coefficient, -0.37; 95% CI, -0.62 to -0.07; P =.02). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cross-sectional study, hospitals with a higher percentage of pediatric patients from minoritized groups had larger differences in imaging between non-Hispanic Black and non-Hispanic White patients, with non-Hispanic White patients consistently more likely to receive diagnostic imaging. These findings emphasize the urgent need for interventions at the hospital level to improve equity in imaging in pediatric emergency medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2213951
JournalJAMA network open
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 3 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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