To evaluate the impact of the implementation of an inclusive pan-regional trauma system on quality of care.
Inclusive trauma systems ensure access to quality injury care for a designated population. The 2007 National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) found quality deficits for 60% of severely injured patients. In 2010, London implemented an inclusive trauma system. This represented an opportunity to evaluate the impact of a pan-regional trauma system on quality of care.
Evaluation of the London Trauma System (ELoTS) utilized the NCEPOD study core methodology. Severely injured patients were identified prospectively over a 3-month period. Data were collected from prehospital care to 72 h following admission or death. Quality, processes of care, and outcome were assessed by expert review using NCEPOD criteria.
Three hundred and twenty one severely injured patients were included of which 84% were taken directly to a major trauma center, in contrast to 16% in NCEPOD. Overall quality improved with the proportion of patients receiving “good overall care” increasing significantly [NCEPOD: 48% vs ALL-ELoTS: 69%, RR 1.3 (1.2 to 1.4), P < 0.01], primarily through improvements in organizational processes rather than clinical care. Improved quality was associated with increased early survival, with the greatest benefit for critically injured patients [NCEPOD: 31% vs All-ELoTS 11%, RR 0.37 (0.33 to 0.99), P = 0.04].
Inclusive trauma systems deliver quality and process improvements, primarily through organizational change. Most improvements were seen in major trauma centers; however, systems implementation did not automatically lead to a reduction in clinical deficits in care.