Background: When emergency medical services (EMS) providers respond to the scene of an injury, they must decide where to transport the injured patients for further evaluation and treatment. This is done through a process known as "field triage", whereby a patient's injuries are matched to the most appropriate hospital. In 2005-2006 the National Expert Panel on Field Triage, convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, revised the 1999 American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma Field Triage Decision Scheme. This revision, the 2006 Field Triage Decision Scheme, was published in 2006.
Methods: State Public Health departments' and EMS' external websites were evaluated to ascertain the current status of implementation of the 2006 Field Triage Decision Scheme.
Results: Information regarding field triage was located for 41 states. In nine states no information regarding field triage was available on their websites. Of the 41 states where information was located, seven were classified as "full adopters" of the 2006 Field Triage Decision Scheme; nine were considered "partial adopters"; 17 states were found to be using a full version or modification of the 1999 Field Triage Decision Scheme; and eight states were considered to be using a different protocol or scheme for field triage.
Conclusion: Many states have adopted the 2006 Decision Scheme (full or partial). Further investigation is needed to determine the reasons why some states do not adopt the guidelines.