Background Transfers to a pediatric emergency department (ED) with subsequent discharge home should be optimized. Transfers to a pediatric ED (PED) from community and academic general EDs are compared with a focus upon subsequent resource utilization with the PED to identify patterns of resource and education needs within general EDs. Methods: Patients younger than 21 years transferred to a PED from general EDs over a 1-year period and discharged home were retrospectively reviewed. The referring institutions were categorized as academic or community. Demographic and clinical variables reflecting PED care were abstracted and referrals from the academic and community institutions were compared. Results: Among 5675 interfacility transfers, 1603 (28.2%) were discharged home from the PED. Most patients were transferred from a community ED (n = 1081, 67.4%). Laboratory testing, ancillary studies, and medication administration did not differ between patients transferred from an academic or community ED. Patients from a community ED were more likely to have a procedure performed (44% vs 39%, P = 0.04). Patients from a community ED were also more likely to have high resource utilization in the PED (61% vs 55%, P = 0.03). Discussion: Most children transferred to a PED from a general ED required few resources in the PED before discharge home. The pattern of care delivered in the PED differed by the designation of the transferring ED providing insight into the differential educational and resource needs of general EDs in caring for pediatric patients.
- emergency department utilization
- interhospital transfer