© 2023 Hawaiʻi Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

New medication dosing system seeks to improve child emergency care

Honolulu EMS

A new medication dosing system will be rolling out this year for county emergency medical services across the state. The mobile application provides quick access to medication dosing guidelines for children and tracks the medications and doses.

With EMS staff stretched thin across the state, the system aims to take some pressure off emergency medical technicians and paramedics calculating weight-based dosages out in the field.

Dr. Alvin Bronstein and Kristy Luke from the Department of Health with HPR's Russell Subiono, left, at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
Dr. Alvin Bronstein and Kristy Luke from the Department of Health with HPR's Russell Subiono, left, at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

The Conversation discussed the benefits of the system with two staff members from the Hawaiʻi Department of Health: Dr. Alvin Bronstein, chief of the Emergency Medical Services Injury Prevention System Branch, and EMS for Children program coordinator Kristy Luke.

"Having to do math under pressure can lead to errors. And when we talk about errors, it's not only overdosing, it's underdosing, or even omitting if they don't feel comfortable, they might omit medicating altogether," Luke said.

Bronstein said the most stressful situation is a cardiac arrest where the child needs to be resuscitated. Treatment requires very small amounts of medication.

"It's very easy, for instance, to get a decimal point off, which then could cause more problem than the problem one's dealing with. So that's the idea here that the system says 'give X number of milligrams IV,' and there's no question once the patient's age and the weight gets inputted into the system and the drug is chosen," he said.

"It's not so much that we have a problem. We want to make it easier to care for the pediatric patients. That's the whole point of this. And this system is used around the country, and we're implementing it here in the state," Bronstein said.

It's funded by a federal grant from the EMS for Children program, which was championed by the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye.

This interview aired on The Conversation on May 2, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1. This story was adapted for the web by Sophia McCullough.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
Related Stories