Development of trauma systems is a demanding process. The United States and Germany both have sophisticated trauma systems. This manuscript is a summary of political, economic, and medical changes that have led to the development of both trauma systems and the current high-quality standards.Questions/purposes
We specifically asked three questions: (1) What tasks are involved in developing a modern trauma system? (2) What is the approach to achieve this task? (3) Do these systems work?Methods
We conducted a systematic review of relevant articles by searching electronic databases (PubMed, Embase, Cochrane library) using the following search terms: “trauma system”, “polytrauma”, “trauma networks”, and “trauma registry”. Of 2573 retrieved manuscripts, the authors made a personal selection of studies. A personal study selection from our experiences was added when their contribution to the topic was judged important.Results
Worldwide, similar tasks concerning trauma care have to be addressed. In most societies, traffic accidents and firearm-related injuries contribute to a high number of trauma victims. The German approach has been to decrease the number of accidents through injury prevention and to provide better care by establishing an emergency medical system. For in-hospital treatment, clinical care has constantly improved and a close interaction with members from the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association has helped a great deal to achieve these improvements. The German healthcare system was developed as a powerful healthcare tool covering patients from injury to rehabilitation. In addition, trauma and injury research has been strengthened to deal with various questions of trauma care.Conclusions
Organized injury prevention programs and systematized professional patient care can address the issues associated with the global burden of trauma. These trauma systems require constant monitoring and improvement.