Army ‘Fellows’ Learn Pediatric Readiness


Flag-and-candlesOn Veterans Day, we salute those who stood ready in years past to protect our country and ourselves from harm beyond our borders.

Within Seton, there are a couple of U.S. Army physicians getting ready to protect the most vulnerable among us heading into the future. They are focused on what’s called “Pediatric Readiness.”

Dr. Heather Mitchell is from Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood and Dr. Guyon Hill is from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. Both are fellows committed to bringing Pediatric Readiness back to their branch of the military.

The National Pediatric Readiness Project is a multi-phase quality improvement initiative to ensure that all U.S. emergency departments (ED) have essential guidelines and resources in place to provide effective emergency care to children. The first phase of this project, a national assessment of EDs’ readiness to care for children, was completed in 2013. The results were published in JAMA Pediatrics in the April 2015 issue.

The assessment was based on the following areas outlined in the Joint Policy Statement: Guidelines for the Care of Children in the Emergency Department, published in 2009:

  • Administration and coordination;
  • Physicians, nurses, and other ED staff;
  • ED quality improvement and performance improvement;
  • Pediatric patient safety;
  • Policies, procedures and protocols; and
  • Equipment, supplies and medications

The primary purpose of this project is three-fold:

  • Establish a composite baseline of the nation’s capacity to provide care to children in the ED
  • Create a foundation for EDs to engage in an ongoing quality improvement process that includes implementing the Guidelines for the Care of Children in the Emergency Department
  • Establish a benchmark that measures an ED’s improvement overtime

This effort at Dell Children’s is led by Dr. Katherine (Kate) Remick, a pediatric emergency physician who is also Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP’s) Emergency Medicine Section’s National Pediatric Readiness Project Special Interest Group.

Remick recently authored a study on the front page of AAP News that finds EDs in the U.S. “are more prepared to care for children than they were 10 years ago, yet additional efforts are needed to ensure every child has the right care at the right place at the right time.”

Progress needs to be made in providing physician and nurse pediatric emergency care coordinators; developing disaster plans that address issues specific to children; instituting quality improvement processes and related metrics for children; and tearing down barriers to implementing guidelines, particularly around training and educational resources, Remick found.

“Dr. Remick is a national leader in better preparing all providers who treat children’s emergencies,” Steve Conti, Seton’s senior director academics, said. “The Seton/UT Austin Dell Medical School Pediatric Emergency Medicine Fellowship at Dell Children’s offers this expertise to those who train here – which is of particular benefit to military physicians who will take this knowledge and expertise to the benefit of children around the world.”