Since the initial hour after injury is the most crucial time for trauma patients, resuscitation technique is of vital importance. Standardized courses for first-hour management (ATLS) have been widely accepted. A teaching format based upon video recording of every resuscitation has been developed. Tapes are reviewed by the staff and by the individuals involved in a particular resuscitation. In a weekly resuscitation review conference, actual footage is presented to the trauma team members, specific aspects of a resuscitation are critiqued, and supplemental didactic information is presented.
Legal problems have been avoided by making the review and conference a part of the quality assurance process. Patient anonymity is preserved by positioning the video camera at the foot of the resuscitation bed. Tapes are erased after each conference.
Video recording allows analysis of: 1) priorities during the resuscitation; 2) cognitive integration of the workup by the team leader; 3) physical integration of the workup by the team leader; 4) team member adherence to assigned responsibilities, resuscitation time, errors or breaks in technique; and 5) behavior change over time.
In 3½ years, more than 2,500 resuscitations have been recorded. Over a 3-month period, average resuscitation time to definitive care decreased for age- and injury severity-matched patient groups cared for by one team. Resuscitations have become more efficient and adherence to assigned responsibilities better. Weekly review of resuscitation contributes to improved technique and trauma care.