Recommendations for Choosing Wisely in Pediatric Emergency Medicine: Five Opportunities to Improve Value

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Annals of emergency medicine




Unnecessary diagnostic tests and treatments in children cared for in emergency departments (EDs) do not benefit patients, increase costs, and may result in harm. To address this low-value care, a taskforce of pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) physicians was formed to create the first PEM Choosing Wisely recommendations. Using a systematic, iterative process, the taskforce collected suggested items from an interprofessional group of 33 ED clinicians from 6 academic pediatric EDs. An initial review of 219 suggested items yielded 72 unique items. Taskforce members independently scored each item for its extent of overuse, strength of evidence, and potential for harm. The 25 highest-rated items were sent in an electronic survey to all 89 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics PEM Committee on Quality Transformation (AAP COQT) to select their top ten recommendations. The AAP COQT survey had a 63% response rate. The five most selected items were circulated to over 100 stakeholder and specialty groups (within the AAP, CW Canada, and CW USA organizations) for review, iterative feedback, and approval. The final 5 items were simultaneously published by Choosing Wisely United States and Choosing Wisely Canada on December 1, 2022. All recommendations focused on decreasing diagnostic testing related to respiratory conditions, medical clearance for psychiatric conditions, seizures, constipation, and viral respiratory tract infections. A multinational PEM taskforce developed the first Choosing Wisely recommendation list for pediatric patients in the ED setting. Future activities will include dissemination efforts and interventions to improve the quality and value of care specific to recommendations.