According to the findings of a new study, children treated at pediatric emergency rooms with high “readiness” scores have a 42% lower risk of dying, suggesting that if improvements were implemented at all U.S. trauma centers more than 126 lives may be saved each year.
In findings published this week in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, researchers evaluated data involving more than 372,000 children under the 18 who were treated in 832 emergency rooms throughout the United States between January 2012 and December 2017.
The study used data from the National Pediatric Readiness Project, which is a U.S. initiative designed to improve emergency department readiness to care for acutely ill and injured children. The readiness score measures were designed to improve treatment of children in hospital emergency rooms and reduce pediatric deaths.
Nurses at emergency rooms across the U.S. were also give a 55-item questionnaire, which assessed the pediatric readiness measures implemented at the emergency room (ER).
According to the findings, children treated in ERs with high pediatric readiness scores had a lower risk of death than children treated at emergency departments with low pediatric readiness scores. Their risk of dying in the hospital was 42% lower overall, indicating that 126 pediatric deaths each year may be avoided if national efforts were made to increased readiness at trauma centers that care for children.
While the findings did find improvements in mortality rate, the study did not find that children treated at high readiness ERs experienced any fewer complications than the children treated at low readiness score ERs.
“In this cohort study, injured children treated in high-readiness EDs had lower mortality compared with similar children in low-readiness EDs, but not fewer complications,” the researchers concluded. “These findings support national efforts to increase ED pediatric readiness in US trauma centers that care for children.”
Nearly 30 million children visit emergency rooms in the United States each year. Roughly 27% of those visits are for injuries. The National Pediatric Readiness Project was established to help improve the quality of care children receive at those emergency rooms and reduce pediatric deaths during treatment.
Researchers noted that improving readiness scores among all trauma centers in the United States could help to save an additional 126 children’s lives at each ER every year.
The study was funded by the National Institute of Health and the Health Resources and Services Administration.