INTRODUCTION: Innovations in topical burn treatment along with a drive toward value-based care are steering burn care to the outpatient setting. Little is known regarding what characteristics predict outpatient treatment of pediatric minor burns and whether there is a temporal trend toward this treatment paradigm.METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was performed using California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development linked emergency department and inpatient database (2005-2013). All patients under 18years of age with a primary burn diagnosis were extracted. Using patient and facility level variables, we used regression modeling to evaluate predictors of outpatient burn treatment and temporal trends.RESULTS: There were 16,480 pediatric minor burn encounters during the period. 56.4% were male, 85.3% had <10% total body surface area (TBSA), 76.3% were scald or contact, and 77.3% were at deepest depth 2nd degree. Multiple variables predicted an increased likelihood of discharge home including older age(p<0.001), smaller TBSA(p<0.001), and superficial/partial thickness burns(<0.001). Children of Hispanic and Black race were less likely to be discharged home compared to White and Asian peers(p=<0.001). On Poisson modeling, the incidence rate ratio over the 9-year period for home discharge was 1.004 (95% CI 1.001-1.008, p=0.032).CONCLUSION: Older patients and those with more superficial burns were more likely to be treated as outpatients. Black and non-white Hispanic race was associated with inpatient admission. There is a growing trend toward ambulatory treatment of minor burns in the pediatric population. Further research is needed to assess whether outpatient treatment of pediatric minor burns results in greater readmissions.
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