Trauma System Agenda for the Future


What is Trauma

What is Trauma Systems

The Vision

Executive Summary


Comprehensive Trauma Care System: Fundamental Components of Trauma Care

Comprehensive Trauma Care System: Key Infrastructure Elements






Current Status

Technology plays an important role in the organization, delivery, and effectiveness of trauma services, and it will continue to do so in the future. Recent developments such as automobile telematics (such as On-Star), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Automatic Collision Notification (ACN), and wireless E9-1-1 promise shorter notification time and could bring beneficial information to dispatch centers, while the nascent field of telemedicine holds great promise for providing trauma care in remote locations. The developments mentioned above are being partially supported through the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), a Federal program that continues to pursue technological advancements in support of improved mobility and safety on the nation's highways.

But advances in technology do not always lead to advances in trauma care. There is a confusing array of emergency access numbers in various states and localities. The explosion of wireless technology and the proliferation of cell phones have diminished the safety net due to the lack of automatic location notification, which is built into landwire 9-1-1 systems. There is often little up-front medical consideration in technology development, and financial resources for technology development are not always adequate. There is a need for continual development, with benefit of technology effectiveness studies. There is also a need for interoperability in communications technology.

The Vision

•  Automotive telematics systems and GPS in motor vehicles will be used to locate crashes, monitor vital signs, and determine injury severity. GPS will also provide real-time route navigation for ambulances.

•  Access technologies such as ACN and wireless E9-1-1 will be fully developed.

•  Various technological innovations will be used to provide services remotely. For example, video feeds will be used to provide telemedicine to rural areas and will enable remote providers to perform operative procedures. EMS providers will have personal communicators with direct contact to medical providers. The Internet will be used to follow up with patients and train health care professionals. Robotic and diagnostic intervention will be conducted via telemedicine, and national teleconferencing will be used for education, outreach, and policy development.

•  Monitoring devices will be used in a variety of settings, including computer chip implants to monitor patients and the use of monitoring devices in a patient's home, which would support injury prevention and rapid response.

•  Computer chips will enable automatic transfer of sophisticated crash information and will permit injury research databases to be utilized to evaluate and improve auto design.

•  An artificial neural network will determine the most appropriate site for patient care, given the extent of a patient's injury.

•  Access numbers will be consolidated to eliminate confusion and streamline access nationwide.

•  Patient simulation technology will be used for provider education.

•  Medical input will be sought early in the design phase of future technologies to ensure that these developments are coordinated with the health care system and result in improved patient outcome.

•  Dedicated resources will be available for technology analysis.