Written by Catherine Jones, Executive Director, Trauma Services BC

Trauma Services BC is launching a system-wide mortality review process to reduce preventable deaths and improve care for injured patients.

Over 700,000 people suffer injuries in B.C. each year and around 1,100 of them die following hospitalization.

Trauma Services BC is launching a provincial system-wide mortality review process aimed at reducing preventable deaths by improving the processes of care for injured patients. This standardized provincial process supports better understanding of factors leading to death following injury. The initiative, which is being led by Trauma Services BC’s newly established Performance Improvement and Patient Safety (PIPS) committee, hopes to identify ways to reduce preventable death due to injury, and support existing local and regional quality improvement programs.

Trauma Services BC is a Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) program that’s responsible for ensuring the optimal performance of B.C.’s trauma system. It is committed to ensuring all British Columbians have access to a comprehensive, integrated and inclusive provincial trauma system that provides efficient, high-quality care and actively supports effective injury prevention.

“Our vision at Trauma Services BC is that British Columbia achieves the lowest burden of injury anywhere in North America,” says Dr. David Evans, medical director for Trauma Services BC and a trauma surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital. “One of the ways we hope to do that is by taking a much closer look at how, where, when and why people die after injury.”

Over the past year, to strengthen the information available to drive system-wide improvement, Trauma Services BC has secured information sharing agreements, linked the BC Trauma Registry to external databases, and refined the quality and efficiency of data collection across sites. Dr. Evans adds, “Through all of this, we hope to identify ways to provide better care to injured patients and, even more importantly, identify opportunities to prevent injury-related death in the first place.”

Trauma Services BC collaborated with the BC Patient Safety & Learning System (BCPSLS) to develop a secure, centralized, electronic platform to support its provincial quality improvement program. Information about patients admitted to hospital for injury can now, for the first time, be stored and confidentially shared at the provincial level between the health authorities and BC Emergency Health Services who work together to review these cases. Learning can then be circulated broadly.

In addition to reviewing annual mortality rates produced by the BC trauma information management system, the PIPS committee will examine select cases from the regional trauma programs to look for opportunities to improve care. The committee will evaluate these cases along with the conclusions of local mortality review committees to support system-wide learning. It’s expected that provincial standards, protocols and guidelines for trauma care will evolve from this work.

Having a provincial framework to provide a quality-focused look at injury resulting in hospital death is a B.C. innovation. It is expected that quality improvement will be streamlined across trauma programs, and that opportunities for improvement will be shared among trauma care providers and managers across the province.

To learn more, visit Trauma Services BC or BC Patient Safety & Learning System. If you have questions, please contact Beide Bekele, Trauma Services BC program lead, at Beide.Bekele@phsa.ca.


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