In 2015, the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma introduced the Needs-Based Assessment of Trauma Systems
(NBATS) tool to quantify the optimal number of trauma centers
for a region. While useful, more focus was required on injury population, distribution, and transportation systems. Therefore, NBATS-2 was developed utilizing advanced geographical modeling. The purpose of this study was to evaluate NBATS-2 in a large regional trauma system.
Data from all injured patients from 2016 to 2017 with an Injury Severity Score greater than 15 was collected from the trauma registry of the existing (legacy) center. Injury location and demographics were analyzed by zip code. A regional map was built using US census data to include hospital and population demographic data by zip code. Spatial modeling was conducted using ArcGIS to estimate an area within a 45-minute drive to a trauma center.
A total of 1,795 severely injured patients were identified across 54 counties in the tri-state region. Forty-eight percent of the population and 58% of the injuries were within a 45-minute drive of the legacy trauma center. With the addition of another urban center, injured and total population coverage increased by only 1% while decreasing the volume to the existing center by 40%. However, the addition of two rural trauma centers
increased coverage significantly to 62% of the population and 71% of the injured (p
< 0.001). The volume of the legacy center was decreased by 25%, but the self-pay rate increased by 16%.
The geospatial modeling of NBATS-2 adds a new dimension to trauma system planning. This study demonstrates how geospatial modeling applied in a practical tool can be incorporated into trauma system planning at the local level and used to assess changes in population and injury coverage within a region, as well as potential volume and financial implications to a current system.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Care management/economic, level V.