The performance and assessment of hospital trauma teams

Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2010 Dec 13:18:66. doi: 10.1186/1757-7241-18-66.


The purpose of the trauma team is to provide advanced simultaneous care from relevant specialists to the seriously injured trauma patient. When functioning well, the outcome of the trauma team performance should be greater than the sum of its parts. Trauma teams have been shown to reduce the time taken for resuscitation, as well as time to CT scan, to emergency department discharge and to the operating room. These benefits are demonstrated by improved survival rates, particularly for the most severely injured patients, both within and outside of dedicated trauma centres. In order to ensure the best possible performance of the team, the leadership skills of the trauma team leader are essential and their non-technical skills have been shown to be particularly important. Team performance can be enhanced through a process of audit and assessment of the workings of the team and the evidence currently available suggests that this is best facilitated through the process of video review of the trauma resuscitation. The use of human patient simulators to train and assess trauma teams is becoming more commonplace and this technique offers a safe environment for the future education of trauma team staff. Trauma teams are a key component of most programmes which set out to improve trauma care. This article reviews the background of trauma teams, the evidence for benefit and potential techniques of performance assessment. The review was written after a PubMed, Ovid, Athens, Cochrane and guideline literature review of English language articles on trauma teams and their performance and hand searching of references from the relevant searched articles.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Audit / methods
  • Clinical Audit / standards
  • Computer Simulation
  • Emergency Medicine / education
  • Emergency Medicine / methods
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Humans
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Patient Care Team / standards*
  • Resuscitation / methods
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Workforce
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*