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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2016 Jul;81(1):190-5. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001067.

Performance of a regional trauma network: A state-wide analysis.

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Department of Surgery (J.C.H., L.A.L., J.A.C.), MetroHealth Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio; and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine (N.S), Cleveland, Ohio; Northern Ohio Trauma System (D.L.A.), Cleveland, Ohio.



The Northern Ohio Trauma System (NOTS), established in 2010, is a collaborative regional trauma system composed of one level I and several lower-level trauma centers (TCs) across multiple hospital systems. Mortalities between counties in NOTS and other Ohio counties were compared to assess NOTS performance.


State trauma registry was analyzed for patients 15 years or older from 2006 to 2012. Mortality change over time was assessed by comparing all counties before and after NOTS establishment. Two analyses were done in the post-NOTS period: (1) a county analysis, comparing Cuyahoga County, the county containing NOTS level I TC (L1TC), with other counties containing L1TCs and (2) a regional analysis, comparing Cuyahoga and its adjacent counties (i.e., the NOTS region) with other L1TC containing regions. The following subgroups were included a priori: Injury Severity Score 15 or greater, age 65 years or older, and trauma mechanism.


A total of 178,143 patients were analyzed. Cuyahoga was the only county that had a decrease in mortality for both the overall group and all subgroups over time (all p < 0.05). Both the county and regional analyses showed that the overall NOTS patients were 1 to 4 years older (p < 0.05), had similar or higher Injury Severity Score (p < 0.05), and were treated more often at lower-level TCs (p < 0.001). County analysis demonstrated that Cuyahoga County had approximately 1% lower mortality in geriatrics patients compared with non-NOTS counties. Regional analysis showed lower mortality in the NOTS region for the overall patient group, as well as geriatric and blunt injuries subgroups.


Cuyahoga was the only county in Ohio that had significant mortality reduction for all patient groups over time. Trauma system regionalization was associated with greater utilization of lower-level TCs and lower patient mortality. These findings suggest that a collaborative regional trauma system may be more important than the number of L1TC in an area.


Therapeutic/care management study, level IV.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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