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9-1-1 Activations from Ambulatory Care Centers: A Sicker Pediatric Population.

BACKGROUND: Pediatric patients transferred by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from urgent care (UC) and office-based physician practices to the emergency department (ED) following activation of the 9-1-1 EMS system are an under-studied population with scarce literature regarding outcomes for these children. The objectives of this study were to describe this population, explore EMS level-of-care transport decisions, and examine ED outcomes.

METHODS: This was a retrospective review of patients zero to <15 years of age transported by EMS from UC and office-based physician practices to the ED of two pediatric receiving centers from January 2017 through December 2019. Variables included reason for transfer, level of transport, EMS interventions and medications, ED medications/labs/imaging ordered in the first hour, ED procedures, ED disposition, and demographics. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics, X test, point biserial correlation, two-sample z test, Mann-Whitney U test, and 2-way ANOVA.

RESULTS: A total of 450 EMS transports were included in this study: 382 Advanced Life Support (ALS) runs and 68 Basic Life Support (BLS) runs. The median patient age was 2.66 years, 60.9% were male, and 60.7% had private insurance. Overall, 48.9% of patients were transported from an office-based physician practice and 25.1% were transported from UC. Almost one-half (48.7%) of ALS patients received an EMS intervention or medication, as did 4.41% of BLS patients. Respiratory distress was the most common reason for transport (46.9%). Supplemental oxygen was the most common EMS intervention and albuterol was the most administered EMS medication. There was no significant association between level of transport and ED disposition ( P = .23). The in-patient admission rate for transported patients was significantly higher than the general ED admission rate ( P <.001).

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that pediatric patients transferred via EMS after activation of the 9-1-1 system from UC and medical offices are more acutely ill than the general pediatric ED population and are likely sicker than the general pediatric EMS population. Paramedics appear to be making appropriate level-of-care transport decisions.

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