How Can Trauma Registries Leverage EMS Data?
Hospitals and trauma registrars are well-aquatinted with state and regional requirements that require the inclusion of EMS data into trauma registries. However, the collection and representation of this data can actually have benefits that reach far beyond merely fulfilling reporting requirements. In fact, EMS data related to traumatic injuries can provide valuable insight into how communities are experiencing an injury, and help you uncover ways to prevent future injuries.
According to the American Trauma Society, in-hospital based trauma prevention strategies and programs have a long history of success. Trauma centers are increasingly looking for ways to help reduce injuries before they occur, but to do so, they must have a clear picture of what exactly is occurring in their community.
Identify Common Causes of Injuries
To get an accurate representation of the most common injuries and trends over time, a good place to start is local EMS run reports or ePCRs. By reviewing these, you can better understand the most common types of injuries among the patients that enter your hospital and identify any variables that might impact the numbers. For example, you can review injury data year-over-year or even monthly to see if seasonality impacts injury type; for example, do more falls occur during icy winter months?
You may also find that you’re missing data elements that would provide a more complete picture of an injury, such as missing vital signs, atypical vital signs, or time stamps. You can work with your EMS partners to ensure that everyone is collecting the right data for better data quality and a more comprehensive look into what’s truly impacting your community. By knowing the common causes of injury, you’ll be able to create more effective injury prevention programs.
Understand Core Demographics
Another way trauma registrars can leverage EMS data is by reviewing core demographics that come from EMS calls. Just as with cause of injury, you can trend demographic information over time to see if there are changes in impacted age groups, gender, or even location.
Location can often be a useful guide of where to implement your injury prevention programs. For example, if there is a park where head injuries more frequently occur with young people, it might be a prime location for a helmet giveaway program in that area versus another space. Using real-world data and trends can help you plan a more effective injury prevention program by reaching out to the right people at the right place.
Create Stronger Injury Prevention Programs
After reviewing the data you’ve received from EMS in tandem with the other data elements you have from within the hospital, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the issues facing your patient population and which population you should target. You can even look at working with your EMS and first responder partners for unique ways to target groups who could benefit from injury prevention programs. Leveraging their insight can help build teamwork while also giving you practical ideas for improvement. And for the EMS medics, their awareness of your prevention programs can serve as additional tools to help those they see on a regular basis, especially those most at risk.
Additionally, after rolling out an intervention program, you can use updated EMS data to check potential results from your outreach. Comparing current stats to your original benchmarks can offer concrete data points that are easy to understand and share. This insight can help you readjust your program as needed or identify the successes represented by fewer injuries in your targeted population.
Making Data Easier to Share
Although there are a number of opportunities to use EMS data, it sometimes can be challenging to track down. After all, a significant amount of EMS data can come in through old-fashioned mechanisms such as paper charts or via fax machines.
One way to streamline the process is to make use of your data more efficiently and quickly,through software that automatically shares EMS data into the hospital EHR. Tools like ESO Health Data Exchange provides bidirectional data exchange between the hospital and EMS agency to ensure that everyone has access to the data they need.
Creating a More Complete Picture
From creating a full picture of care that incorporates pre-hospital data, to closing the loop on final diagnosis and treatment, both hospitals and EMS agencies can extract helpful insight from having access to the full patient record. Software makes it simple to share and incorporate data into each organization’s processes, workflows, training, and performance metrics.
For trauma registrars, incorporating EMS data can be so much more than just the fulfillment of a collection requirement. It can be a very practical way to benefit hospitals, EMS, and the community as a whole. The more informed each agency can be, the more effective prevention plans and preparedness will be. Reducing injuries before they occur is a huge step in creating safer and healthier communities, and by using data, healthcare professionals can make a real impact.