Up to 3 million US children are cared for by emergency medical services (EMSs) annually. Limited research exists on pediatric prehospital care. The Pediatric Emergency Care Applied Research Network (PECARN) mission is to perform high-quality research for children, including prehospital research. Our objective was to develop a pediatric-specific prehospital research agenda.
Methods: Representatives from all 4 PECARN nodes and from EMS agency partners participated in a 3-step process. First, participants ranked potential research priorities and suggested others. Second, participants reranked the list in order of importance and scored each priority using a modified Hanlon method (prevalence, seriousness, and practicality of each research area were assessed). Finally, the revised priority list was presented at a PECARN EMS summit, and consensus was sought.
Results: Forty-two representatives participated, including PECARN representatives, EMS agency leaders, and nationally recognized prehospital researchers. Consensus was reached on the priority ranking. The prioritization processes resulted in 2 ranked lists: 15 clinical topics and 5 EMS system topics. The top 10 clinical priorities included (1) airway management, (2) respiratory distress, (3) trauma, (4) asthma, (5) head trauma, (6) shock, (7) pain, (8) seizures, (9) respiratory arrest, and (10) C-spine immobilization. The 5 EMS system topics identify methods to improve prehospital care on the system level.
Conclusions: PECARN has identified high-priority EMS research topics for children using a consensus-derived method. These research priorities include novel EMS system topics. The PECARN EMS pediatric research priority list will help focus future pediatric prehospital research both within and outside the network.