Creation and delphi-method refinement of pediatric disaster triage simulations

Mark X. Cicero*, Linda Brown, Frank Overly, Jorge Yarzebski, Garth Meckler, Susan Fuchs, Anthony Tomassoni, Richard Aghababian, Sarita Chung, Andrew Garrett, Daniel Fagbuyi, Kathleen Adelgais, Ran Goldman, James Parker, Marc Auerbach, Antonio Riera, David Cone, Carl R. Baum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Objective. There is a need for rigorously designed pediatric disaster triage (PDT) training simulations for paramedics. First, we sought to design three multiple patient incidents for EMS provider training simulations. Our second objective was to determine the appropriate interventions and triage level for each victim in each of the simulations and develop evaluation instruments for each simulation. The final objective was to ensure that each simulation and evaluation tool was free of bias toward any specific PDT strategy. Methods. We created mixed-methods disaster simulation scenarios with pediatric victims: a school shooting, a school bus crash, and a multiple-victim house fire. Standardized patients, high-fidelity manikins, and low-fidelity manikins were used to portray the victims. Each simulation had similar acuity of injuries and 10 victims. Examples include children with special health-care needs, gunshot wounds, and smoke inhalation. Checklist-based evaluation tools and behaviorally anchored global assessments of function were created for each simulation. Eight physicians and paramedics from areas with differing PDT strategies were recruited as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) for a modified Delphi iterative critique of the simulations and evaluation tools. The modified Delphi was managed with an online survey tool. The SMEs provided an expected triage category for each patient. The target for modified Delphi consensus was ≥85%. Using Likert scales and free text, the SMEs assessed the validity of the simulations, including instances of bias toward a specific PDT strategy, clarity of learning objectives, and the correlation of the evaluation tools to the learning objectives and scenarios. Results. After two rounds of the modified Delphi, consensus for expected triage level was >85% for 28 of 30 victims, with the remaining two achieving >85% consensus after three Delphi iterations. To achieve consensus, we amended 11 instances of bias toward a specific PDT strategy and corrected 10 instances of noncorrelation between evaluations and simulation. Conclusions. The modified Delphi process, used to derive novel PDT simulation and evaluation tools, yielded a high degree of consensus among the SMEs, and eliminated biases toward specific PDT strategies in the evaluations. The simulations and evaluation tools may now be tested for reliability and validity as part of a prehospital PDT curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • Disaster medicine education
  • Emergency medical technicians
  • Paramedics
  • Pediatrics
  • Simulation
  • Triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency


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