by: Sumeet Banker, MD, MPH
In a medical emergency, time is of the essence. Timely medical and procedural interventions are often needed to keep patients alive and healthy. Pediatric emergencies in particular require accurate and timely drug dosing to prevent under- or over-dosing and subsequent bad outcomes.
Many pediatric emergency/critical care drug dosing apps have entered the market for the casual emergency room doctor or nurse caring for the occasional child as well as the experienced pediatric provider in an intensive care unit or operating room setting. However, not all apps are created equal.
Pedi STAT is a solid drug dosing app that presents material in a clear, easy-to-understand color coded format to eliminate medication uncertainties in potentially stressful critical pediatric environments. This app was created by an emergency physician, Dr. James Kempema, and developed in partnership with QxMD Software.
In this app, as in most other dose calculator apps, drug dosages are calculated based on weight or an estimation of weight based on age or length if the child’s weight is unknown. Upon entering the app, you are prompted to enter one of these measurements (weight or length may be in metric or imperial units).
The following screen is the main screen, which lists the categories of medications included in the app. Categories and drugs are fixed, so they cannot be modified and new ones cannot be added. Again, the app is geared toward emergency/critical care scenarios and contains everything from seizure medications to airway intervention drugs to antidotes.
The medications themselves are presented in a clear format with drug dosage, ranges when appropriate, and additional information regarding administration or pertinent adverse effects. Touching the age, weight, or length at the bottom of the screen allows you to change these parameters and thus change the calculated dosages easily.
The app also includes PALS algorithms for pulseless arrest, tachycardias, and bradycardias. It includes step-by-step instructions and dosed medications, as well as lists of potential causes for each rhythm.
Additionally, the “Airway Intervention” category provides start-to-finish references for rapid-sequence intubation, from airway equipment and pre-medications to induction, paralytics, maintenance medications, and ventilator settings.
Other features unique to this app include scoring guidelines and formulas for various medical calculations such as Glasgow Coma Scale, croup score, and burn size estimation using a chart that adjusts for the patient’s age. These calculators provide individual prompt screens for each component of the calculation to make quicker and more accurate assessments and management plans for patients.
- Color-coded format and visually appealing headings/categories make information easy to read and understand
- Contains appropriate dosage for many commonly used emergency/critical care drugs as well as equipment sizes
- Not able to customize or add/modify medications
- Weight cut-off is low at 43 kilograms
- Notable omissions include pressors and common emergency room drugs such as antibiotics
- Pedi STAT is a solid drug dosing app for emergency room and critical care health professionals providing care to children
- Information is presented in a seamless format that facilitates quick access by category
- Though information cannot be customized, this app’s formulary is well-stocked for its stated purposes