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Research Letter
April 11, 2018

A Target to Achieve Zero Preventable Trauma Deaths Through Quality Improvement

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 2Center for Surgery and Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Johns Hopkins Surgery Center for Outcomes Research, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland
  • 4Department of Surgery, Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC
  • 5Deputy Editor, JAMA Surgery
JAMA Surg. Published online April 11, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2018.0159

Trauma remains the leading cause of death in Americans younger than 46 years, leading to nearly 200 000 deaths per year.1 To address this issue, major quality improvement initiatives have been undertaken at the national level to improve care at trauma centers. Although results of these efforts have been generally positive, major variations in outcomes between trauma centers continue to be documented.2 The fact that some hospitals perform better than others suggests that some patients are not receiving the best possible care, which may result in preventable deaths. Recognizing this issue, in its 2016 report, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recommended several measures to improve the quality of trauma care, and called for achieving zero preventable deaths after injury.3 Our objective is to determine the number of preventable trauma deaths (PTDs) in US hospitals to provide a specific target for this NASEM mandate.

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