The Impact of Universal Mental Health Screening on Pediatric Emergency Department Flow

Published:October 28, 2021DOI:


      Objective and Hypothesis

      Assess the impact of universal mental health screening with MyHEARTSMAP on emergency department (ED) flow, an important aspect of feasibility. We hypothesized that the difference in departmental level ED length of stay (LOS) for screening and matched nonscreening days is less than 30 minutes.


      We conducted a 2-center, retrospective cohort study between December 2017 and June 2019. At each center, random mental health screening days were assigned over the course of 15 consecutive months. We matched each 24-hour screening day to a unique nonscreening day based on: location (Center 1 or Center 2); day type (weekday: Monday-Thursday or weekend: Friday-Sunday); date (±28 days); and 24-hour volume (±15 patients). We collected retrospective patient flow data, including LOS, across all ED visits to determine the difference in departmental level median LOS between matched screening and nonscreening days.


      There was not a statistically significant difference in departmental LOS between screening and nonscreening days. Overall, the difference in departmental LOS was −4.0 minutes (95% confidence interval, −9.8, 1.8) for screening days compared to nonscreening days, with a difference of −2.0 minutes (−9.0, 4.9) at Center 1 and −6.0 minutes (−15.4, 3.4) at Center 2.


      Our findings show that universal mental health screening with MyHEARTSMAP can be implemented without a significant impact of ED LOS.


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