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December 2016

The Need for Postdischarge, Patient-Centered Data in Trauma

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Surgery and Public Health, Department of Surgery, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Surg. 2016;151(12):1101-1102. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2016.2343

Trauma accounts for 199 800 deaths and 30.9 million nonfatal injuries in the United States each year.1 Among survivors, the long-term consequences can be devastating in terms of both medical considerations, such as risk of readmission and need for rehabilitation, and patients’ lived experience, affecting functional outcomes and health-related quality of life. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that in 2010, estimated annual lifetime costs due to trauma totaled more than $187 billion (an average of $1.05 million per person), of which 98.9% ($1.04 million per person) was due to loss of work alone.1 Recent work by the National Institutes of Health and American College of Surgeons recognized this issue, calling for a need to consider longer-term outcomes of care and to implement patient-centered methods to collect postdischarge outcomes in existing trauma registries.2 Consensus statements from Europe tell a similar story.3 Nevertheless, despite widespread recognition, there remains a paucity of data concerning the postdischarge experience of trauma patients, particularly as it pertains to patient-centered outcomes. On a national scale, it is not known what information is being collected.

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