Comparing Practice Patterns Between Pediatric and General Emergency Medicine Physicians: A Scoping Review

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Acutely ill infants and children presenting to the emergency department are treated by either physicians with pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) training or physicians without PEM training, a good proportion of which are general emergency medicine–trained physicians (GEDPs). This scoping review identified published literature comparing the care provided to infants and children (≤21 years of age) by PEM-trained physicians to that provided by GEDPs.


The search was conducted in 2 main steps as follows: (1) initial literature search to identify available literature with evolving feedback from the group while simultaneously deciding search concepts as well as inclusion and exclusion criteria and (2) modification of search concepts and conduction of search using finalized concepts as well as review and selection of articles for final analysis using set inclusion criteria. Each study was independently assessed by 2 reviewers for eligibility and quality. Data were independently abstracted by reviewers, and authors were contacted for missing data.


Our search yielded 3137 titles and abstracts. Twenty articles reporting 19 studies were included in the final analysis. The studies were grouped under type of care, diagnostic studies, medication administration, and process of care. The studies addressed differences in the management of fever, croup, bronchiolitis, asthma, urticaria, febrile seizures, and diabetic ketoacidosis.


This review highlights the lack of robust studies and heterogeneity of literature comparing practice patterns of PEM-trained physicians with GEDPs. We have outlined a systematic approach to reviewing a body of literature for topics that lack clear terms of comparison across studies.

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