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Pediatric ED

American Academy of Pediatrics Offers Solutions to Ease ED Crowding

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has published 15 recommendations to ease emergency department (ED) crowding, ensuring young patients receive timely, quality care.

A key tactic includes helping families access services downstream sooner, rather than going without care, which can lead to preventable ED trips. For example, AAP called for helping families enroll in proper health insurance coverage. Also, the group called for expanding telehealth services and access to outpatient solutions, including subspecialty care.

“There is really no single approach to avoid crowding in the emergency department,” said Toni K. Gross, MD, MPH, FAAP, lead author of the policy statement. “There are steps hospitals and healthcare systems can take to reduce crowding. It’s also ideal to help families avoid emergency department visits by making it easier for them to access preventive care and manage chronic conditions, including mental health disorders, at an outpatient office.”

Gross and colleagues argued ED crowding leads to patients leaving without treatment, delayed care, medical errors, generally poor outcomes, and possibly higher risk for mortality. In November, more than two dozen medical associations and advocacy groups asked the Biden administration to convene a summit to find solutions to the boarding problem, which they believe is a national emergency.

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of ED Management and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Reports.