Trauma resuscitation errors and computer-assisted decision support

Arch Surg. 2011 Feb;146(2):218-25. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.2010.333.


Hypothesis: This project tested the hypothesis that computer-aided decision support during the first 30 minutes of trauma resuscitation reduces management errors.

Design: Ours was a prospective, open, randomized, controlled interventional study that evaluated the effect of real-time, computer-prompted, evidence-based decision and action algorithms on error occurrence during initial resuscitation between January 24, 2006, and February 25, 2008.

Setting: A level I adult trauma center.

Patients: Severely injured adults.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome variable was the error rate per patient treated as demonstrated by deviation from trauma care algorithms. Computer-assisted video audit was used to assess adherence to the algorithms.

Results: A total of 1171 patients were recruited into 3 groups: 300 into a baseline control group, 436 into a concurrent control group, and 435 into the study group. There was a reduction in error rate per patient from the baseline control group to the study group (2.53 to 2.13, P = .004) and from the control group to the study group (2.30 to 2.13, P = .04). The difference in error rate per patient from the baseline control group to the concurrent control group was not statistically different (2.53 to 2.30, P = .21). A critical decision was required every 72 seconds, and error-free resuscitations were increased from 16.0% to 21.8% (P = .049) during the first 30 minutes of resuscitation. Morbidity from shock management (P = .03), blood use (P < .001), and aspiration pneumonia (P = .046) were decreased.

Conclusions: Computer-aided, real-time decision support resulted in improved protocol compliance and reduced errors and morbidity. Trial Registration Identifier: NCT00164034.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Decision Making, Computer-Assisted*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Errors*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Resuscitation
  • Trauma Centers / statistics & numerical data*
  • Video Recording
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*

Associated data