Background: This study was undertaken to determine whether a prehospital trauma classification system (PHTCS) in combination with an in-hospital trauma radio system response (IHTRSR) impacts emergency care of the injured patient.
Methods: In 1991 our trauma center used no prehospital trauma classification system. A PHTCS was implemented in 1992, and in 1993 the PHTCS was integrated with an IHTRSR:
Results: Implementation of the PHTCS and IHTRSR resulted in a significant reduction in the time required for initial evaluation of the trauma patient with an associated reduction in cost. Reduction in time of the initial trauma evaluation was noted in both adult and pediatric populations, in patients with a blunt mechanism of injury, and in the injured patients posing the greatest strain to health care resources.
Conclusions: Integration of a PHTCS with an IHTRSR has a significant impact on the cost and time of emergency treatment of the trauma victim with no adverse effect on patient outcome. Use of an integrated trauma response provides cost-effective and expeditious care of the injured patient and should be considered in trauma system development.