█ ASSOCIATION NOTES
The American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics have developed joint guidelines on providing optimal care to the more than 20 million children who come to emergency departments each year, published in the April 2001 Annals of Emergency Medicine.
“Almost a quarter of all people who come through the doors of our nation's emergency departments are children, many of them under the age of three,” says Robert W. Shafermeyer, MD, president of ACEP. “When a child is in trouble, parents are going to head to the closest hospital, and whether it is a children's hospital or not, it needs to be prepared to handle a young person's special needs.”
“Care of Children in the Emergency Department: Guidelines for Preparedness,” outlines the most current requirements of equipment, staff, and policies to provide high-quality medical care for children. The guidelines are available to all emergency departments, and they represent the collaboration and support of 18 national organizations involved in caring for children.
Several groups have published guidelines for emergency department preparedness for pediatric patients, but they were not universally implemented because they were developed independently.
“Implementation of these guidelines is achievable for most emergency departments,” says Marianne Gausche-Hill, MD, of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, Calif., author of a related editorial, “Guidelines for Preparedness of Emergency Departments That Care for Children: A Call to Action,” in the same issue. “These guidelines demonstrate that the costs of providing appropriate equipment are minimal,” she says, “and to achieve equipment preparedness simply takes commitment.”
The joint policy statement was three years in the making and contains input from various organizations, including emergency physicians, pediatricians, administrators, hospital accrediting organizations, and other health care organizations that are invested in quality care for children.
█ INDUSTRY NOTES
Explosive sales growth among a relatively small number of medicines fueled an overall 18.8 percent growth in U.S. spending on outpatient prescription drugs from 1999 to 2000, according to a new study by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Of the 9,911 drugs on the retail market, 23 accounted for half of the increase, which drove total spending on outpatient prescription drugs to $131.9 billion in 2000 from $111.1 billion in 1999.
The leaders among the 23 drugs include the arthritis drugs Celebrex and Vioxx, as well as the cholesterol-lowering medicine Lipitor. An estimated 42 percent of the rise in overall spending was attributed to an increase in the number of prescriptions written; another factor was the rising costs of the drugs.
█ NOTABLE MEETINGS
Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics, the mother of all medical videoconferencing meetings, will be returning to the Washington (D.C.) Convention Center from September 11 to 16. Seven years ago, the meeting made headlines by showing live surgery from Germany, Israel, and downtown Washington, D.C., to a group of 3,500 cardiovascular surgeons. This year, TCT is expecting 10,000 participants, 500 www.tctmd.com., and will feature 100 live cases from 15 sites in North America and Europe. As was the case in 1994, the live demonstrations will be held more or less continuously from early morning until early evening, with presentations running on the patients' schedules rather than the presenters'. For more information, visit
The 40th Annual Conference on Research in Medical Education will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Medical Colleges, November 2 to 7, in Washington, D.C. The conference will feature presentations and discussions of research on medical education. For more information, visit www.aamc.org/meetings/annual/2001/start.htm.
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