Background: Research networks need access to EMS data to conduct pilot studies and determine feasibility of prospective studies. Combining data across EMS agencies is complicated and costly. Leveraging the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) to extract select agencies' data may be an efficient and cost-effective method of providing network-level data. Objective: Describe the process of creating a Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) specific NEMSIS data set and determine if these data were nationally representative. Methods: We established data use agreements (DUAs) with EMS agencies participating in PECARN to allow for agency identification through NEMSIS. Using 2019 NEMSIS version 3.4.0 data for EMS events with patients 18 years old and younger, we compared PECARN NEMSIS data to national NEMSIS data. Analyzed variables were selected for their ability to characterize events. No statistical analyses were utilized due to the large sample, instead, differences of ±5% were deemed clinically meaningful. Results: DUAs were established for 19 EMS agencies, creating a PECARN data set with 305,188 EMS activations of which 17,478 (5.7%) were pediatric. Of the pediatric activations, 17,140 (98.1%) were initiated through 9-1-1 and 9,487 (55.4%) resulted in transport by the documenting agency. The national data included 36,288,405 EMS activations of which 2,152,849 (5.9%) were pediatric. Of the pediatric activations 1,704,141 (79.2%) were initiated through 9-1-1 and 1,055,504 (61.9%) were transported by the documenting agency. Age and gender distributions were similar between the two groups, but the PECARN-specific data under-represents Black and Latinx patients. Comparison of EMS provider primary impressions revealed that three of the five most common were similar with injury being the most prevalent for both data sets along with mental/behavioral health and seizure. Conclusion: We demonstrated that NEMSIS can be leveraged to create network specific data sets. PECARN's EMS data were similar to the national data, though racial/ethnic minorities and some primary impressions may be under-represented. Additionally, more EMS activations in PECARN study areas originated through 9-1-1 but fewer were transported by the documenting agency. This is likely related to the type of participating agencies, their ALS response level, and the diversity of the communities they serve.
Keywords: EMS; data; pediatric.