Pediatric Readiness Reduces Disparities in Care

  • Published September 29, 2023
disparities in care

A new study demonstrates that pediatric readiness in emergency departments (EDs) reduces, though does not eliminate, disparities in care. The article, “Emergency Department Pediatric Readiness and Disparities in Mortality Based on Race and Ethnicity,” by Peter C. Jenkins, MD, MSc, an assistant professor of surgery at Indiana University School of Medicine, and colleagues was published Sept. 5 in JAMA Network Open.

The research team analyzed 633,536 pediatric patients at hospitals in 11 states from 2012-2017.

“We saw that for kids with traumatic injuries, whose care is largely determined by such protocols, there weren’t significant differences in survival based on race and ethnicity,” Jenkins said. “But for children with medical emergencies, where treatment protocols are often lacking, we found significant disparities in mortality between black and white kids. Importantly, the higher the level of readiness of the ED, the lower the level of disparity between racial and ethnic groups.”

Other lead collaborators include Nathan Kuppermann, MD, MPH, of UC Davis and EMSC’s Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network, and Craig Newgard, MD, MPH, of Oregon Health and Science University and an EMSC Targeted Issues Grant. Several researchers also published related commentary, “Emergency Department Pediatric Readiness and the Search for Solutions That Promote Child Health Equity,” describing the impact of the study.

The research comes on the heels of the publication of results of the 2021 National Pediatric Readiness Project assessment, which found a national median pediatric readiness score of 69.5 out of 100 and underscored the impact of COVID-19 on emergency care.

Learn more about pediatric readiness here.