Examination of Caregiver Social Factors and Its Influence on Low-Acuity Pediatric ED Utilization

Previous studies have suggested that social factors can influence health care utilization. A recent study featuring PISC Internal Advisory Board member and Senior Scholar Joel Fein, MD, MPH, evaluated the relationship between caregivers with high Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and low-acuity pediatric emergency department utilizations. Fein and the team hypothesized that caregivers with high ACE were more likely to visit the emergency department with low-acuity complaints. A case group of 114 caregivers was compared to a control group of 134 caregivers. Results indicated no association between caregiver ACE and the frequency of low-acuity pediatric utilization in the emergency department. However, the team reflects, “our findings emphasize the risk of conscious bias that can lead to inaccuracy.” Further research will explore the factors that influence a caretaker’s decision to seek medical attention for their child with a low-acuity complaint.

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