American college of surgeons' committee on trauma performance improvement and patient safety program: Maximal impact in a mature trauma center

Bedabrata Sarkar, Melissa E. Brunsvold, Jill R. Cherry-Bukoweic, Mark R. Hemmila, Pauline K. Park, Krishnan Raghavendran, Wendy L. Wahl, Stewart C. Wang, Lena M. Napolitano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Background: To examine the impact of an ongoing comprehensive performance improvement and patient safety (PIPS) program implemented in 2005 on mortality outcomes for trauma patients at an established American College of Surgeons (ACS)-verified Level I Trauma Center. Methods: The primary outcome measure was in-hospital mortality. Age, Injury Severity Score (ISS), and intensive care unit admissions were used as stratifying variables to examine outcomes over a 5-year period (2004-2008). Institution mortality rates were compared with the National Trauma Data Bank mortality rates stratified by ISS score. Enhancements to our comprehensive PIPS program included revision of trauma activation criteria, development of standardized protocols for initial resuscitation, massive transfusion, avoidance of over-resuscitation, tourniquet use, pelvic fracture management, emphasis on timely angiographic and surgical intervention, prompt spine clearance, reduction in time to computed tomography imaging, reduced dwell time in emergency department, evidence-based traumatic brain injury management, and multidisciplinary efforts to reduce healthcare-associated infections. Results: In 2004 (baseline data), the in-hospital mortality rate for the most severely injured trauma patients (ISS >24) at our trauma center was 30%, consistent with the reported mortality rate from the National Trauma Data Bank for patients with this severity of injury. Over 5 years, our mortality rate decreased significantly for severely injured patients with an ISS >24, from 30.1% (2004) to 18.3% (2008), representing a 12% absolute reduction in mortality (p = 0.011). During the same 5-year time period, the proportion of elderly patients (age >65 years) cared for at our trauma center increased from 23.5% in 2004 to 30.6% in 2008 (p = 0.0002). Class I trauma activations increased significantly from 5.5% in 2004 to 15.5% in 2008 based on our reclassification. A greater percentage of patients were admitted to the intensive care unit (25.8% in 2004 to 37.3% in 2007 and 30.4% in 2008). No difference was identified in the rate of blunt (95%) or penetrating (5%) mechanism of injury in our patients over this time period. Trauma Quality Improvement Program confirmed improved trauma outcomes with observed-to-expected ratio and 95% confidence intervals of 0.64 (0.42-0.86) for all patients, 0.54 (0.15-0.91) for blunt single-system patients, and 0.78 (0.51-1.06) for blunt multisystem patients. Conclusion: Implementation of a multifaceted trauma PIPS program aimed at improving trauma care significantly reduced in-hospital mortality in a mature ACS Level I trauma center. Optimal care of the injured patient requires uncompromising commitment to PIPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1447-1454
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Committee on trauma
  • Level 1 trauma center
  • Performance improvement
  • Trauma
  • Trauma outcomes
  • Trauma systems


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