Objective: Pediatric patients represent low frequency but potentially high-risk encounters for emergency medical services (EMS) providers. Scant information is available from EMS agencies on the frequency of pediatric skill evaluation and the presence of pediatric emergency care coordination, both which may help EMS systems optimize care for children. The objective of our study was to assess the frequency and type of methods used to assess psychomotor skills competency using pediatric-specific equipment and pediatric care coordination in EMS ground transport agencies. Methods: A web-based assessment was sent to EMS agency directors in 58 states/territories to determine the presence of pediatric care coordination defined as an individual who oversees pediatric issues (Pediatric Care Coordinator or PECC) and the process for evaluating psychomotor skills of EMS providers using of pediatric equipment. Basic demographic information of each agency was collected. Descriptive statistics, odds ratios, and 95% confidence intervals were used for analyses. Results: The response rate was 78% (8,166/10,463 agencies). Almost 80% of agencies respond to fewer than 100 pediatric calls a year; over half of the agencies are located in urban areas and provide Advanced Life Support care. Twenty-three percent (23%) of EMS agency administrators report having a PECC and 28% have plans or interest in adding one. Of those agencies with a PECC, 26% report sharing the position among several agencies. Almost half (47%) of EMS agencies evaluate pediatric psychomotor skills at least twice a year. Agencies with a PECC, those with a medium to medium high pediatric call volume and agencies located in urban areas are more likely to evaluate psychomotor skills at least twice a year. Conclusions: Although few EMS agencies currently have a PECC, there is interest among EMS agency administrators to integrate one into their system. Pediatric-specific psychomotor skills testing is more common in EMS agencies that respond to a higher pediatric call volume and have a PECC. For EMS agencies that infrequently treat children, the presence of a PECC may enhance the frequency of pediatric psychomotor skills evaluation. The presence of a PECC can potentially increase provider confidence and safety for all pediatric prehospital patients regardless of volume and location.
Keywords: emergency medical services; pediatric care coordination; pediatric emergency care coordinator; pediatric equipment; prehospital emergency care.