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Evaluating trauma care, outcomes and costs in a system in crisis: the necessity of a Greek National Trauma Database
  1. Apostolos Prionas1,2,3,
  2. George Tsoulfas3,
  3. Andreas Tooulias3,
  4. Apostolos Papakoulas3,
  5. Athanasios Piachas3,
  6. Vasileios Papadopoulos3
  1. 1General Surgery, Queen's Hospital, Barking Havering and Redbridge Univesity Hospitals NHS Trust, Romford, London, UK
  2. 2Surgery and Cancer, Imperial College London, London, UK
  3. 3First General Surgery Department of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Papageorgiou General Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dr Apostolos Prionas; apostolosprionas{at}gmail.com

Abstract

Background At present there is no organized trauma system in Greece and no national trauma database. The objective of this study was to record and evaluate trauma management at our university hospital and to measure the associated healthcare costs, while laying the foundations for a national database and the organization of regional trauma networks.

Methods Retrospective study of trauma patients (n=2320) between 2014 and 2015, through our single-center registry. Demographic information, injury patterns, hospital transfer, investigations, interventions, duration of hospitalization, Injury Severity Score (ISS), outcomes, complications and cost were recorded.

Results Road traffic collisions (RTC) accounted for 23.2% of traumas. The proportion of patients who were transferred to the hospital by the National Emergency Medical Services decreased throughout the study (n2015=76/1192 (6.38%), n2014=109/1128 (9.7%)) (p<0.05). 1209 (52.1%) of our trauma patients did not meet the US trauma field triage algorithm criteria. Overtriage of trauma patients to our facility ranged from 90.7% to 96.7%, depending on the criteria used (clinical vs. ISS criteria). Ninety-one (3.9%) of our patients received operative management. Intensive care unit admissions were 21 (0.1%). Seventy-six (3.3%) of our patients had ISS>15 and their mortality was 31.6%. The overall non-salary cost for trauma management was €623 140. 53% of these costs were attributed to RTCs. The cost resulting from the observed overtriage ranged from €121 000 to €315 000. Patients who did not meet the US trauma triage algorithm criteria accounted for 10.5% of total expenses.

Discussion Our results suggest that RTCs pose a significant financial burden. The prehospital triage of trauma patients is ineffective. A reduction of costs could have been achieved if prehospital triage was more effective.

Level of evidence Level IV.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors APr, GT, and VP designed the study. APr, AT, APa and APi collected the data. APr, AT, APa and APi performed the data analysis. APr drafted the article. APr, GT and VP critically revised the article.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted in accordance with the ethical standards of the Papageorgiou General Hospital Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request. Anonymized non-identifiable data are available through the hospital registry (contact: bnpap@med.auth.gr for information/reuse).

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