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New online diagnostic support tool set to transform children’s health

13th January 2016

Paediatric Care Online, hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, may reduce child deaths by ensuring children receive the best possible treatment before they become too unwell, say child health experts.

Launching 12th February 2016, an online decision support tool, providing specialist diagnostic advice for paediatricians, GPs and nurses, along with other healthcare professionals, will ensure children get the right treatment at the earliest opportunity – preventing delays in care and potentially reducing avoidable child deaths.

Child health experts say that Paediatric Care Online (PCO UK), hosted by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and developed by a partnership group, could contribute towards reducing the UK’s 2,000 avoidable deaths each year by ensuring that the right children get referred to hospitals and other specialist services, whilst others are seen in more appropriate settings.

Through the use of Key Practice Points – decision support tools that cover common signs and symptoms and critical care situations – PCO UK will also help healthcare professionals feel more secure about which patients can safely be managed at home.

Dr Hilary Cass, Clinical Lead for Paediatric Care Online (PCO UK) and member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

“PCO UK will improve patient safety and reduce hospital admissions by providing healthcare professionals with immediate, professionally assured, evidenced based guidance together with a host of supporting reference materials and patient/carer information. This will enable professionals to diagnose early, treat, prescribe, or signpost timely referral to the most appropriate service.”

Commenting on how PCO UK will benefit GPs, Dr Maureen Baker, Chair of the Royal College of GPs , said:

“A quarter of a GP’s patients are under 19 years of age, so access to support tools like the Key Practice Points within PCO UK will provide valuable support when we are diagnosing and referring our young patients.

“This resource is easy to use and gives us quick access to the latest clinical guidelines and resources, which is very welcome at a time when GPs and our teams under intense resource and workforce pressures.”

To demonstrate the value of PCO UK to new potential users, healthcare professionals can receive free, open access, to the Key Practice Point on ‘fever’.

PCO UK will be included in RCPCH membership fees from January 2016, giving RCPCH members instant access to content.

To find out more or to subscribe to Paediatric Care Online, visit


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