Objective: This study aimed to assess the impact of physicians' gender, work experience, and training on hospitalization among children visiting a pediatric emergency department (ED).
Methods: This retrospective cohort study used the computerized database of a tertiary care pediatric ED staffed by pediatric emergency physicians, general pediatricians, and general emergency physicians. Participants were all children evaluated in the ED between April 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009. The primary outcome was hospitalization, and secondary outcome was unscheduled return in the 48 hours after discharge from the ED. Determinants of outcomes were physician's gender, experience, and specialty training. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between physicians' characteristics and the risk of admission, adjusting for referral status, triage level, chief complaints, and other potential risk factors.
Results: Forty-five physicians evaluated 49,146 patients during the study period. Physicians' individual admission and return rates varied from 1% to 24% and 0% to 11%, respectively. On multiple logistic regression, physician's gender was not a predictor of admission but the physician's years of experience was slightly associated with both admission rates and unscheduled return visits. As a group, pediatric emergency physicians demonstrated a lower admission rate than physicians trained in general pediatric or general emergency medicine.
Conclusions: Individual physician's admissions proportions vary widely. Providers' experience and specialization in pediatric emergency medicine are weak predictors of admission, whereas gender was not associated.