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J Hosp Med. 2019 Nov 1;14(10):694-703. doi: 10.12788/jhm.3268. Epub 2019 Sep 18.

Quality and Safety of Pediatric Inpatient Care in Community Hospitals: A Scoping Review.

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The Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts.
James M Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence, Department of Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Tufts University, Hirsh Health Sciences Library, Boston, Massachusetts.
Franciscan Hospital for Children, Boston, Massachusetts.
The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice and Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire.



Although the majority of children are hospitalized in nonchildren's hospitals, little is known about the quality and safety of pediatric care in community hospitals.


The aim of this study was to conduct a scoping review and synthesize literature on the quality and safety of pediatric inpatient care in United States community hospitals.


We performed a systematic literature search in October 2016 to identify pediatric studies that reported on safety, effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness, patient-centeredness, or equity set in general, nonuniversity, or nonchildren's hospitals. We extracted data on study design, patient descriptors, and quality outcomes and assessed the risk of bias using modified Newcastle-Ottawa Scales.


A total of 44 articles met the inclusion criteria. Study designs, patient populations, and quality outcome measures were heterogeneous; only three clinical domains, (1) perinatal regionalization, (2) telemedicine, and (3) imaging radiation, were explored in multiple studies with consistent directionality of results. A total of 30 studies were observational, and 22 studies compared community hospital quality outcomes with other hospital types. The remaining 14 studies reported testing of interventions; 12 showed improved quality of care postintervention. All studies reported an outcome addressing safety, effectiveness, or efficiency, whereas timeliness, patient-centeredness, and equity were infrequently addressed. Risk of bias was moderate or high for 72% of studies.


Literature on the inpatient care of children in community hospitals is limited, making it difficult to evaluate healthcare quality. Measures of timeliness, patient-centeredness, and equity are underrepresented. The field would benefit from more multicenter collaborations to facilitate the application of robust study designs and to enable a systematic assessment of individual interventions and community hospital quality outcomes.

[Available on 2020-11-01]

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