Kimberly Kroetch

Supervisor: Rhonda Rosychuk

Project: How long does it take a child with asthma to go through different stages of the emergency department visit?


Devon, AB

Degree program:

Bachelor of Science in Applied Statistics

Why did you choose this program?

I went into statistics because I love the theory; I already loved math, and statistics incorporates the element of randomness which I enjoyed even more. The best part, though, is being able to use that theory to work with data and answer real-world questions.

What was it like to continue your research project when much of the country was in a lockdown or faced major restrictions?

The lockdown meant that I could not work on campus and experience the regular work environment in the lab. I did not have the benefit of face-to-face contact with my supervisor or others in the lab. However, I am very fortunate that my work could all be completed remotely without too much inconvenience. We thankfully did not have to alter our goals, and I still had ample support throughout the project.

What interested you in the summer studentship program?

I was interested in this project because I knew it would allow me to learn and implement statistical techniques which I was not yet familiar with. I was also excited for the chance to work with health data to obtain real and relevant results.

How has your studentship helped you towards your career aspirations?

This studentship has been incredibly beneficial for me. It has not only developed my statistical skills, but it has given me a better understanding of how research should be conducted. This is also the largest data set that I have worked with, and in order to handle that I have had to expand my coding knowledge.

What has the support from WCHRI and the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation meant to you?

This has been an invaluable experience for me, and it could not have carried forward without the support I have received. I am so grateful to WCHRI and the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation for their funding. It has allowed me to develop skills I need to further myself in my education and career goals.

Lay abstract:

When a child has asthma, the disease may be worse at certain times and a child may need to visit the emergency department (ED) to get care. The child would flow through different key stages. First, the child would be registered in the ED. Next the patient would have the physician initial assessment. At some point, a physician would make a decision about whether or not the child can be discharged home. Finally, a child will leave the ED because s/he is discharged or will leave the ED because s/he is admitted or transferred to another hospital. The length of time in each stage and how the lengths of time change because of different features of the child and the ED visit is of interest in this study.

This project will use health data routinely collected and analyze all 25,388 ED visits for asthma made by 16,056 children aged two to 17 in 18 high volume EDs in Alberta from 2010 to 2015. We will define multistate models with states including registration, physician initial assessment, disposition decision and end of ED visit. The transitions between states will be modeled as functions of patient characteristics (e.g., age, gender), as well as ED visit characteristics (e.g., time of day) and measures of ED crowding. We expect that transitions to each state will differ by patient characteristics, ED visit characteristics,and measures of ED crowding.

This study will be a novel examination of the flow of children with asthma through the ED and the impact of patient characteristics and ED visit characteristics such as ED crowding on the flow. Results of this study are important for patients, health providers and health administrators to further understand if there are any stages that could be shortened in order to reduce overall time in the ED and potentially reduce ED crowding.