Current trauma system performance improvement emphasizes hospital- and patient-based outcome measures such as mortality and morbidity, with little focus upon the processes of prehospital trauma care. Little data exist to suggest which prehospital criteria should serve as potential filters. This study identifies the most important filters for auditing prehospital trauma care using a Delphi technique to achieve consensus of expert opinion.
Experts in trauma care from the United States (n = 81) were asked to generate filters of potential utility in monitoring the prehospital aspect of the trauma system, and were then required to rank these questions in order of importance to identify those of greatest importance.
Twenty-eight filters ranking in the highest tertile are proposed. The majority (54%) pertains to aspects of emergency medical services, which comprise 7 of the top 10 (70%) filters. Triage filters follow in priority ranking, comprising 29% of the final list. Filters concerning interfacility transfers and transportation ranked lowest.
This study identifies audit filters representing the most important aspects of prehospital trauma care that merit continued evaluation and monitoring. A subsequent trial addressing the utility of these filters could potentially enhance the sensitivity of identifying deviations in prehospital care, standardize the performance improvement process, and translate into an improvement in patient care and outcome.