Dedicated pediatricians in emergency department: Shorter waiting times and lower costs

Manuel Rocha Melo, Manuel Ferreira-Magalhães, Filipa Flor-Lima, Mariana Rodrigues, Milton Severo, Luis Almeida-Santos, Alberto Caldas-Afonso, Pedro Pita Barros, António Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dedicated pediatricians in emergency departments (EDs) may be beneficial, though no previous studies have assessed the related costs and benefits/harms. We aimed to evaluate the net benefits and costs of dedicated emergency pediatricians in a pediatric ED. Methods: Cost-consequences analysis of visits to a pediatric ED of a tertiary hospital. Two pediatric ED Medical Teams (MT) were compared: MT-A (May-September 2012), with general pediatrics physicians only; and MT-B (May-September 2013), with emergency dedicated pediatricians. The main outcomes analyzed were relevant clinical outcomes, patient throughput time and costs. Results: We included 8,694 children in MT-A and 9,417 in MT-B. Medication use in the ED increased from 42.3% of the children in MT-A to 49.6% in MT-B; diagnostic tests decreased from 24.2% in MT-A to 14.3% in MT-B. Hospitalization increased from 1.3% in MT-A to 3.0% in MT-B; however, there was no significant difference in diagnosis-related group relative weight of hospitalized children in MT-A and MT-B (MT-A, 0.979; MT-B, 1.075). No differences were observed in ED readmissions or in patients leaving without being seen by a physician. The patient throughput time was significantly shorter in MT-B, with faster times to first medical observation. Within the cost domains analyzed, the total expenditures per children observed in the ED were 16% lower in MT-B: 37.87 euros in MT-A; 31.97 euros in MT-B. Conclusion: The presence of dedicated emergency pediatricians in a pediatric ED was associated with significantly lower waiting times in the ED, reduced costs, and similar clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0161149
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016

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