The Trauma Time-Out: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Protocol-Based Information Dissemination in the Traumatically Injured Patient

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Abstract

Procedural time-outs are widely accepted safety standards that are protocolized in nearly all hospital systems. The trauma time-out, however, has been largely unstudied in the existing literature and does not have a standard protocol outlined by any of the major trauma surgery organizations. The goal of this study was to evaluate our institution's use of the trauma time-out and assess how trauma team members viewed its effectiveness. A multiple-answer survey was sent to trauma team members at a Level I trauma center. Questions included items directed at background, experience, opinions, and write-in responses. Most responders were experienced trauma team members who regularly participated in trauma codes. All respondents noted the total time required to complete the time-out was less than 5 min, with the majority saying it took less than 1 min. Seventy-five percent agreed that trauma time-outs should continue, with 92% noting that it improved understanding of patient presentation and prehospital evaluation. Seventy-seven percent said it improved understanding of other team member's roles, and 75% stated it improved patient care. Subgroups of physicians and nurses were statistically similar; yet, physicians did note that it improved their understanding of the team member's function more frequently than nurses. The trauma time-out can be an excellent tool to improve patient care and team understanding of the incoming trauma patient. Although used widely at multiple levels of trauma institutions, development of a documented protocol can be the next step in creating a unified safety standard.

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