Pediatric emergencies can occur in pediatric primary care offices. However, few studies have measured emergency preparedness, or the processes of emergency care, provided in the pediatric office setting. In this study, we aimed to measure emergency preparedness and care in a national cohort of pediatric offices.
This was a multicenter study conducted over 15 months. Emergency preparedness scores were calculated as a percentage adherence to 2 checklists on the basis of the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines (essential equipment and supplies and policies and protocols checklists). To measure the quality of emergency care, we recruited office teams for simulation sessions consisting of 2 patients: a child with respiratory distress and a child with a seizure. An unweighted percentage of adherence to checklists for each case was calculated.
Forty-eight teams from 42 offices across 9 states participated. The mean emergency preparedness score was 74.7% (SD: 12.9). The mean essential equipment and supplies subscore was 82.2% (SD: 15.1), and the mean policies and protocols subscore was 57.1% (SD: 25.6). Multivariable analyses revealed that independent practices and smaller total staff size were associated with lower preparedness. The median asthma case performance score was 63.6% (interquartile range: 43.2-81.2), whereas the median seizure case score was 69.2% (interquartile range: 46.2-80.8). Offices that had a standardized process of contacting emergency medical services (EMS) had a higher rate of activating EMS during the simulations.
Pediatric office preparedness remains suboptimal in a multicenter cohort, especially in smaller, independent practices. Academic and community partnerships using simulation can help address gaps and implement important processes like contacting EMS.

Copyright © 2021 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.