Regionalization of health care is a method to provide high quality, cost-efficient health care to the largest number of patients. Within pediatric medicine, regionalization has been undertaken in two areas: neonatal intensive care and pediatric trauma care. The supporting literature for the regionalization of these areas demonstrates the range of studies within this field: studies of neonatal intensive care primarily compare different levels of hospitals, while studies of pediatric trauma care primarily compare the impact of institutionalizing a trauma system in a single geographic region. However, neither specialty has been completely regionalized, possibly because of methodologic deficiencies in the evidence base. Research with improved study designs, controlling for differences in illness severity between different hospitals; a systems approach to regionalization studies; and measurement of parental preferences will improve the understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of regionalizing pediatric medicine and ultimately optimize the outcomes of children.
Keywords: Neonatal Intensive Care, Pediatric Trauma Care, Regionalization of Care, Health Care Systems