In 2008, approximately 4,500 people in Germany died in traffic accidents and around 71,000 people were badly injured. Altogether, yearly productivity loss caused by these injuries is estimated to be around 5 billion Euros. International and national studies revealed the trauma centre level of the primary hospital as the major predictor for trauma-related mortality. In 2006, the German Society for Trauma Surgery (DGU) called its members to form regionally based networks of hospitals engaged in trauma care. In April 2008, 45 hospitals in the north-west region of Germany, two hospitals from the Netherlands, and the local emergency services founded the “TraumaNetwork NorthWest (TNNW).” The major goals of these networks are: 1) To shorten the time between accident and admission to the appropriate hospital, 2) to create effective ways of communication, and 3) to implement common pre- and in-hospital standards for trauma care. In order to improve acute trauma care, we looked for new ways of communicating from hospital to hospital, as well as from emergency services to hospitals. Local emergency services will be able to locate the site of an accident on a digital map and find the next (in terms of transport time under emergency conditions) appropriate hospital with free capacity. The emergency physician at the accident site also has an overview of the nearest trauma centres on a hand-held device and can contact them if required. Hospitals can exchange diagnostic data (e.g., CT scans) securely via a fast Internet connection and view the scans either on their own radiology workstation or on an integrated web viewer. Since the necessary software is not commercially available, a team of computer and medical specialists was commissioned for developing the software for commercial use. After the software is in place, a pre- and post-analysis will be performed to study the consequences of the new communication on transport time and injury-related mortality within the region. The project is recognized as a pilot project by the DGU and – if successful – is meant to be adapted across Germany.
Juhra, Christian; Ückert, Frank; Weber, Thomas; Hentsch, Sebastian; Hartensuer, Rene; Vordemvenne, Thomas; Raschke, Michael J., ElectronicHealthcare, 8(3), e3-e8