Trauma management systems have grown in response to regional variations in trauma population, geographical conditions and the provisions of care. National Trauma Registries are being established to improve patient outcomes. However international comparisons could provide the potential to record regional performance, identify and share examples of best practice. To assess whether it was possible to compare data currently being collected by a number of trauma services across Europe, a group was established to develop a common core dataset and to assess the feasibility of collecting anonymised data.
Method: A series of meetings with European collaborators led to the creation of a group entitled EuroTARN. A website was developed in 2002 and interested parties were invited to submit suggestions for a European dataset using an online version of the Delphi technique. A core dataset was created in 2003 and in 2004 participants were invited to submit a summary of past cases online via the EuroTARN Website.
Results: Representatives from 14 countries met and corresponded to create the core dataset. During a trial data collection phase 14 institutions from 11 countries submitted unadjusted mortality data for over 21,500 cases with injury severity Scores of over 15 including information on multiply injured and head injured patients. The results demonstrated that there were observed differences in trauma outcome for similar groups of patients.
Conclusion: It is possible to collect and collate outcome data from established trauma registries across Europe with minimal additional infrastructure using a web-based system. Initial analysis of the results reveals significant international variations. The network has potential as a source of data for epidemiological and clinical research and for optimal trauma system design across Europe.