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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2020 Jan 27. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000001986. [Epub ahead of print]

Real-Time Measurement of Crowding in Pediatric Emergency Department: Derivation and Validation Using Consensual Perception of Crowding (SOTU-PED).

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From the Paediatric Emergency Department, North Hospital, APHM, Marseille.
Observatoire Régional des Urgences PACA, Hyères.
EA 3279 Research Unit-Public Health, Chronic Diseases and Quality of Life, Aix-Marseille University.
Medical Evaluation Department, APHM.
Emergency Department, Timone Hospital, Marseille, France.


Our study aimed to develop and validate a real-time crowding composite scale for pediatric emergency department (PED). The study took place in one teaching PED for 2 months. The outcome was the perception of crowding evaluated by triage nurses and pediatricians on a 10-level Likert scale. Triage nurses evaluated crowding at each moment of a child's admission and pediatrician at each moment of a child's discharge. The outcome was the hourly mean of all evaluations of crowding (hourly crowding perception). For analysis, originally, we only selected hours during which more than 2 nurses and more than 2 pediatricians evaluated crowding and, moreover, during which evaluations were the most consensual. As predictors, we used hourly means of 10 objective crowding indicators previously selected as consensual in a published French national Delphi study and collected automatically in our software system. The model (SOTU-PED) was developed over a 1-month data set using a backward multivariable linear regression model. Then, we applied the SOTU-PED model on a 1-month validation data set. During the study period, 7341 children were admitted in the PED. The outcome was available for 1352/1392 hours, among which 639 were included in the analysis as "consensual hours." Five indicators were included in the final model, the SOTU-PED (R = 0.718). On the validation data set, the correlation between the outcome (perception of crowding) and the SOTU-PED was 0.824. To predict crowded hours (hourly crowding perception >5), the area under the curve was 0.957 (0.933-0.980). The positive and negative likelihood ratios were 8.16 (3.82-17.43) and 0.153 (0.111-0.223), respectively. Using a simple model, it is possible to estimate in real time how crowded a PED is.

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