Influence of referring physicians on interventions by a pediatric and neonatal critical care transport team.
The objective of this study was to determine the influence of: a) pediatrician versus nonpediatrician referrals on a transport team's therapeutic interventions and b) referring physician's year of graduation on interventions performed by the transport team. From November 1987 through December 1989 we prospectively compared the therapeutic interventions performed by the critical care transport team on newborns and pediatric patients with the referring physician's specialty and year of graduation. The transport team (critical care physician [PL3 or greater], registered respiratory therapist, critical care nurse), recorded all therapeutic interventions, including both procedural and pharmacologic, for 213 newborn and 149 consecutive pediatric transports. Referring physicians were categorized as pediatricians and nonpediatricians. Data were analyzed by analysis of variance, chi2, or linear regression. All patients were admitted to either the pediatric or the neonatal intensive care unit, and over 80% of both age groups received assisted ventilation. Newborns referred by nonpediatricians required significantly more procedural interventions (2.64 vs 1.91, P = 0.016) than those referred by pediatricians. The opposite relationship was observed among pediatric patients in that children referred by pediatricians received more frequent intervention (P = 0.008) than those referred by nonpediatricians. There was a significant inverse relationship between the referring physicians year of medical school graduation and the number of therapeutic interventions (total interventions = 6.17 - 0.040 x graduation year, P = 0.01) and procedural interventions (procedural interventions = 3.54 - 0.024 x graduation year, P = 0.01). We found that the referring physicians' medical training affected the number of interventions their patients received. Similarly, patients were likely to receive more interventions if the referral physicians training was not recent. These data have educational implications and support the concepts of continuing medical education, recertification, and maintenance of skills among physicians providing care to critically ill newborns and pediatric patients.
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