Study objective: The study objective was to arrive at a consensus on the priorities for future research in Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC).
Methods: A consensus group was convened using the Rand'-UCLA Consensus Process. The group took part in a 3-phase process. Phase I involved reviewing a compendium of relevant research articles and answering a mailed questionnaire. Panel members were asked to prioritize topics based on the 1993 Institute of Medicine Report on Emergency Medical Services for Children. Participants were asked to rate each topic based on the significance of the research and whether the topic would (1) improve general knowledge, (2) change behavior, (3) improve health, (4) decrease the cost of care, or (5) change public policy. A 4-point Likert scale was used. They were also asked in the research would require a multicenter study and if the research were feasible. Round II of the study involved a meeting of the panel, where the results of Round I were discussed and the topics reprioritized. The topics were given a rank order and a final ranking was done in Round III.
Results: The panel considered a list of 32 topics and these were combined and reworded to give them more precise meaning. Several new topics were also added. Fifteen topics were given a rank order and placed within the 7 broad categories of the Institute of Medicine report. Clinical aspects of emergency care systems organization, configuration and operation and injury prevention were given high priority rankings. The first 5 topics were very close in point-rank order.
Conclusion: The panel was able to develop a list of important topics for future research in EMSC that can be used by foundations, governmental agencies, and others in setting a research agenda for EMSC.