Geographic distribution of severely injured patients: Implications for trauma system development
The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery,

Ciesla DJ et al. – The distribution of severely injured patients who do not reach trauma centers presents an opportunity for trauma system improvement. Those in proximity to trauma centers may benefit from improved and secondary triage guidelines and interfacility transfer agreements, whereas those distant from trauma centers may suggest a need for additional trauma system resources.

Methods
  • Severely injured patients discharged from Florida hospitals were identified using the 2009 Florida Agency for Health Care Administration database.
  • The home zip codes of patients discharged from trauma and nontrauma center hospitals were used as a surrogate for injury location and plotted on a map.
  • A radial distance containing 75% of trauma center discharges defined trauma center catchment area.

Results
  • Only 52% of severely injured patients were discharged from trauma centers.
  • The catchment areas varied from 204 square miles to 12,682 square miles and together encompassed 92% state's area.
  • Although 93% of patients lived within a trauma center catchment area, the proportion treated at a trauma center in each catchment area varied from 13% to 58%.
  • Mapping of patient residences identified regions of limited access to the trauma system despite proximity to trauma centers.

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