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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2020 Feb 1. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0000000000002034. [Epub ahead of print]

Equitable and Timely Care of Febrile Neonates: A Cross-Sectional Study.

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From the Yale National Clinician Scholars Program, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT.
Division of Emergency Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA.
Sorbonne Université, AP-HP, Pediatric Emergency Department, Trousseau Hospital.
Université de Paris, CRESS, INSERM, INRA, Paris, France.



In pediatric emergency departments (EDs), racial/ethnic minorities are less likely to receive needed and timely care; however, clinical protocols have the potential to mitigate disparities. Neonatal fever management is protocolized in many EDs, but the timeliness to antibiotic administration is likely variable. We investigated the timeliness of antibiotic administration for febrile neonates and whether timeliness was associated with patients' race/ethnicity.


Retrospective cross-sectional study of febrile neonates evaluated in one pediatric ED that uses an evidence-based guideline for the management of neonatal fever between March 2010 and December 2015. Primary outcome was time from ED arrival to antibiotic administration. Analysis of variance tests compared mean time with antibiotic administration across race/ethnicity. Multivariable linear regression investigated racial/ethnic differences in time to antibiotic administration after adjusting for patient demographics, timing of visit, the number of physicians involved, and ED census.


We evaluated 317 febrile neonates. Of the 269 patients with racial/ethnic data (84.9%), 54% were white non-Hispanic, 13% were black non-Hispanic, and 23% were Hispanic. The mean time to antibiotic administration was 204 minutes (range = 51-601 minutes). There was no significant association between patient race/ethnicity and time to first antibiotic administration. Emergency department census was significantly associated with timeliness.


There was a 10-hour range in the time to antibiotic administration for febrile neonates; however, variability in timeliness did not differ by race or ethnicity. This study demonstrates the need to further examine the role of protocols in mitigating disparities as well as factors that influence timeliness in antibiotic administration to febrile neonates.

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