Secondary Overtriage of Trauma Patients: Analysis of Clinical and Geographic Patterns

Academic Article


  • Background: The purpose of a trauma system is to match patients’ needs with hospitals' ability to care for them, recognizing that the highest levels of care cannot be provided in all locations. This means that some patients will need to be transferred from a local facility to a higher level of care. Unnecessary transfers are expensive and inconvenient to patients and families. The aim of this study is to analyze the pattern of secondary transfers in a regional trauma system. Methods: This is a retrospective analysis. We included patients aged 16 y and older who were transferred to University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital between 2014 and 2018. We conducted bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis to identify clinical and organizational predictors of requiring a critical intervention, early discharge, intensive care unit admission, and mortality. Rather than treating each injury as isolated, we analyzed injury patterns. Results: A total of3824 patients met the inclusion criteria. Of them, 664 patients (17.4%) required a critical intervention, 635 (16.6%) were discharged within 24 h, 1356 (35.5%) were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 172 (4.0%) patients died. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed many positive associations, with regard to injury pattern, originating center, and insurance status. Conclusions: There are patterns in the data, and further study is required to understand drivers of secondary overtriage, and how we might be able to address this problem. Reducing the number of unnecessary transfers is a difficult task, which will require engagement at all levels of the trauma system.
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    Author List

  • Crowley BM; Griffin RL; Andrew Smedley W; Moore D; McCarthy S; Hendershot K; Kerby JD; Jansen JO
  • Start Page

  • 286
  • End Page

  • 293
  • Volume

  • 254