Trauma registries ineffective for capturing data to evaluate care of injured older adults

Aug. 8, 2019

Nearly 80 percent of registry-eligible serious injuries among adults ages 65 years or older were not recorded in two state trauma registries commonly used to for evaluating and improving patient care, according to a study funded and announced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and published in JAMA Surgery.

Researchers who examined the medical records for 51 medical centers in Washington and Oregon during 2011 identified about 8,200 older patients with serious injuries that required surgery or resulted in death. Although these patients’ injuries were qualified to be recorded in trauma registries, only about 21 percent had a matching trauma registry record.

Researchers discovered that registries missed 93 of 188 in-hospital deaths and 178 of 553 major eligible injuries. Researchers concluded that high-risk injured older adults are not included in registries because of care in non-trauma hospitals, restrictive registry inclusion criteria, and being missed by registries in trauma centers.

“In their current form, trauma registries are ineffective in capturing, tracking, and evaluating injured older adults, although mortality following injury is frequently due to noninjury causes,” the authors wrote.