HumanInsight American Trauma Care: A System of Systems
Air Med J. 2023 Sep-Oct;42(5):318-327. doi: 10.1016/j.amj.2023.07.002. Epub 2023 Jul 27.
OBJECTIVE: The benefits of organized trauma systems have been well-documented during 50 years of trauma system development in the United States. Unfortunately, despite this evidence, trauma system development has occurred only sporadically in the 50 states.
METHODS: The relevant literature related to trauma system design and development was reviewed based on relevance to the study. Information from these sources was summarized into a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis.
RESULTS: Strengths discovered were leadership brought forth by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and meaningful change generated from The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report addressing the fractionation of the nation's trauma systems, whereas weaknesses included patient outcome disparities due to the lack of a national governing authority, undertriage, underresourced rural trauma, and underfunded trauma research. Opportunities included the creation of level IV trauma centers; telemedicine; the development of rural trauma management courses; air medical transport to bring high-intensity care to the patient, particularly in rural areas; trauma research; and trauma prevention through outreach and educational programs. The following threats were determined: mass casualty incidents, motor vehicle collisions because of the high rate of motor vehicle collision deaths in the United States relative to other developed countries, and underfunded trauma systems.
CONCLUSION: Much work remains to be done in the development of an American trauma system. Recommendations include implementation of trauma care governance at the federal level; national oversight and support of emergency medical services systems, particularly in rural areas with strict reporting processes for emergency medical services programs; national organization of our mass casualty response; increased federal and state funding allocated to trauma centers; a consistent model for trauma system development; and trauma research.
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