Pediatrics ED medicine is focus of this listserv

(This is the first of a regular feature on Web sites and listservs pertaining to emergency medicine. We encourage you to send in your own favorite Web sites or listservs for inclusion. Please see the form enclosed in this issue.)

A listserv devoted to discussion of pediatric emergency medicine is a valuable resource for many ED managers. The topics of the postings on this listserv were studied, and an abstract was presented.1 Here are the key findings:

• When categorized by content, 72% of the mail related to the clinical management of patients. Of that group, 21% appeared to be prompted by a specific case.

• 14% related directly to pediatric ED administrative issues, and 15% concerned educational, political, or legislative concerns and other miscellaneous announcements.

• 31 attending jobs were advertised during the study period.

The listserv provides an informal, relatively immediate forum for discussion, says Dale Steele, MD, the list owner and assistant professor of pediatrics at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. "Posts often focus on clinical problems common to all, particularly those in which there is practice variation, controversy, or new information," he says.

For example, a recent discussion on the listserv focused on the indications, route, and method of delivery of dexamethasone for croup, says Steele. "The thread includes anecdotal and pragmatic details such as we crush the pills and mix with chocolate syrup,’" he explains. "However, there was frequent reference to recent evidence in the literature, including several posts from the Australian author of studies which support a lower dose of oral dexamethasone. In addition, there was mail from an individual who had recently completed a clinical trial."

This type of discussion can facilitate making practice changes based on the best current evidence, notes Steele.

[For additional information about the listserv, contact: Dale Steele, MD, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Potter 212, Rhode Island Hospital, 593 Eddy St., Providence, RI 02903. Telephone: (401) 444-6236. Fax: (401) 444-4569. E-mail: Dale_Steele@brown. edu.]

Reference

1. Steele DW. Ped-EM-L: An internet discussion list for pediatric emergency medicine. Presented at the Medical Informatics Joint Pediatric Academic Societies Platform Session. New Orleans; May 5, 1998.