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Evaluation of the interhospital patient transfer after implementation of a regionalized trauma care system (TraumaNetzwerk DGU ® ) in Germany.

PURPOSE: The aim of the study was to evaluate how many patients are being transferred between trauma centers and and their characteristics in the 2006 initiated TraumaNetzwerk DGU® (TNW). We further investigated the time point of transfer and differences in outcome, compared to patients not being transferred. We wanted to know how trauma centers judged the performance of the TNW in transfer.

METHOD: (1) We analyzed the data of the TraumaRegister DGU® (TR-DGU) from 2014-2018. Included were patients that were treated in German trauma centers, maximum AIS (MAIS) >2 and MAIS 2 only in case of admission on ICU or death of the patient. Patients being transferred were compared to patients who were not. Characteristics were compared, and a logistic regression analysis performed to identify predictive factors. (2) We performed a survey in the TNW focussing on frequency, timing and communication between hospitals and improvement through TNW.

RESULTS: Study I analyzed 143,195 patients from the TR-DGU. Their mean ISS was 17.8 points (SD 11.5). 56.4% were admitted primarily to a Level-I, 32.2% to a Level-II and 11.4% to a Level-III Trauma Center. 10,450 patients (7.9%) were transferred. 3,667 patients (22.7%) of the admitted patients of Level-III Center and 5,610 (12.6%) of Level-II Center were transferred, these patients showed a higher ISS (Level-III: 18.1 vs. 12.9; Level-II: 20.1 vs. 15.8) with more often a severe brain injury (AIS 3+) (Level-III: 43.6% vs. 13.1%; Level-II: 53.2% vs. 23.8%). Regression analysis showed ISS 25+ and severe brain injury AIS 3+ are predictive factors for patients needing a rapid transfer. Study II: 215 complete questionnaires (34%) of the 632 trauma centers. Transfers were executed within 2 h after the accident (Level-III: 55.3%; Level-II: 25.0%) and between 2-6 h (Level-III: 39.5%; Level-II: 51.3%). Most trauma centers judged that implementation of TNW improved trauma care significantly (Level III: 65.0%; Level-II: 61.4%, Level-I: 56.7%).

CONCLUSION: The implementation of TNW has improved the communication and quality of comprehensive trauma care of severely injured patients within Germany. Transfer is mostly organized efficient. Predictors such as higher level of head injury reveal that preclinical algorithm present a potential of further improvement.

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