This review considers current trauma scoring systems and databases and their relevance to improving patient care. Single physiological measures such as systolic arterial pressure have limited ability to diagnose severe trauma by reflecting raised intracranial pressure, or significant haemorrhage. The Glasgow coma score has the greatest prognostic value in head-injured and other trauma patients. Trauma triage tools and imaging decision rules-using combinations of physiological cut-off measures with mechanism of injury and other categorical variables-bring both increased sophistication and increased complexity. It is important for clinicians and managers to be aware of the diagnostic properties (over- and under-triage rates) of any triage tool or decision rule used in their trauma system. Trauma registries are able to collate definitive injury descriptors and use survival prediction models to guide trauma system governance, through individual patient review and case-mix-adjusted benchmarking of hospital and network performance with robust outlier identification. Interrupted time series allow observation in the changes in care processes and outcomes at national level, which can feed back into clinical quality-based commissioning of healthcare. Registry data are also a valuable resource for trauma epidemiological and comparative effectiveness research studies.
Keywords: clinical governance; epidemiology; medical audit; wounds and injuries.
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