Objective: Trauma centers provide coordinated specialty care and have been demonstrated to save lives. Many states do not have a comprehensive statewide trauma system. Variable geography, resources, and population distributions present significant challenges to establishing an effective uniform system for pediatric trauma care. We aimed to identify patterns of primary (field) triage and transfer of serious pediatric trauma throughout California. We hypothesized that pediatric primary triage to trauma center care would be positively associated with younger age, increased injury severity, and local emergency medical service (EMS) regions with increased resources. We hypothesized that pediatric trauma transfer would be associated with younger age, increased injury severity, and rural regions with decreased resources.Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development emergency department and inpatient discharge data (2005-2015). All patients with serious injury, defined as Injury Severity Score (ISS) >9 were included. Demographic, injury, hospital, and regional characteristics such as distances between patient residence and destination hospitals were tabulated. Univariate and multinomial logit analyses were conducted to analyze individual, hospital, and regional characteristics associated with the outcomes of location of primary triage and transfer. Estimates were converted into predicted probabilities for ease of data interpretation.Results: Primary triage to was to either a pediatric trauma center (37.8%), adult level I/II trauma center (35.0%), adult level III/IV trauma center (1.9%), pediatric non-trauma hospital (3.4%), or an adult non-trauma hospital (21.9%).Younger age, private non-HMO insurance, motor vehicle mechanism, and rural areas were the major factors influencing primary triage to any trauma hospital. Younger age, private non-HMO insurance, higher ISS, fall mechanism, <200 bed hospital, and rural areas were the major factors influencing transfer from a non-trauma hospital to any trauma center.Conclusions: We demonstrate statewide primary triage and transfer patterns for pediatric trauma in a large and varied state. Specifically we identified previously unrecognized individual, hospital, and EMS system associations with pediatric trauma regionalization. Knowledge of these de facto trauma care access patterns has policy and process implications that could improve care for all injured children in need.
View details for DOI 10.1080/10903127.2020.1733715
View details for PubMedID 32091292