BMC’s Trauma Surgery Department introduces a revised trauma triage activation protocol


Gary O’Neil staff in the ED receives a laminated card with the trauma triage guidelines

The Trauma Program at Boston Medical Center is the longest continuously verified Level 1 Trauma Center in New England. It has earned the reputation of one of the country’s finest trauma programs and is recognized as one of the several Centers of Excellence here at BMC. Our ability to deliver exceptional care to our trauma patients continues to improve and only enhanced though quality improvement initiatives.

All trauma patients need to be identified rapidly and triaged appropriately in order to receive prompt access to definitive care. We recently created a Performance Improvement Project (PIP) that entailed a thorough analysis of patients in our trauma registry to determine our compliance rate to our current trauma triage activation protocol. We further examined the characteristics of patients that were mistriaged and based on the analysis and review of the literature we made recommendations on how to revise our current activation criteria. Recommendations were presented to Emergency Medicine, Trauma Attending Surgeons and Nursing Staff then later finalized for implementation.

Emergency medicine staff received education/training on the new guidelines and in addition to that we laminated the guidelines on cards similar to the size of the ID badges worn by staff. These cards were distributed to emergency medicine staff and enthusiastically clipped onto their ID badges giving them easy access to reference the guidelines. The new guidelines go into effect today, February 18, 2014 and as part of our performance improvement initiative we will continuously monitor all levels of Trauma Team activations to ensure that patients receive the appropriate care at just the right time.

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