Outcome measures in major trauma care: a review of current international trauma registry practice

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Multiple reports over the past 20 years have criticised the care delivered to major trauma patients in England. The setting up of regional trauma networks is well underway to address these deficiencies. Outcomes currently collected in major trauma are restricted to mortality rates and process measures; however, many patients are left with long-term disabilities and reduced quality of life (QoL), which are not measured at present. Trauma systems need to develop outcome measures that capture this important information to judge the quality of care and influence the development of services. This review aimed to identify the current practice of international trauma registries with regard to outcome measurement and review the literature surrounding these measures. An internet-based search of international trauma registry websites including data dictionaries and annual reports was carried out as well as a literature review to determine what outcome measures are routinely collected by trauma registries. All registries were found to look at mortality and process measures, but only one registry routinely collected morbidity outcome measures for both adults and children. There is a considerable amount of disability and reduced QoL in survivors of major trauma that lasts for years following the injury. At present only the Victorian State Trauma Registry collects outcome measures that evaluate the extent of this. English regional trauma networks and the Trauma Audit and Research Network have the opportunity to learn from this experience and routinely start to collect measures of outcome that can drive service improvement and reduce patient morbidity.

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