Health Equity in Trauma Care

Health Equity in Trauma Care

By: Alexandra de Leon Date: April 5th, 2022

Trauma registries document patient demographics, prehospital care, acute care treatments, injury characteristics, outcomes, and other data.

Current trauma registries suffer from an inconsistent collection of data needed to assess health equity. Researchers from the University of Washington, School of Social Work and Harborview injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC) sought to identify barriers and facilitators to collecting accurate equity-related data elements.

Using perspectives of national stakeholders, emergency department registration specialists, and Trauma Registry staff, researchers assessed and identified various barriers and facilitators to equity-related data collection.

“Some of the barriers we found included a lack of national standardization of data elements and technology issues with data collection and storage systems,” says lead author Kelsey Conrick, a trainee at UW Medicine’s Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center (HIPRC) and doctoral student at the School of Social Work.

Staff also reported some patients reacting suspiciously to queries regarding race and ethnicity due to systemic racism and xenophobia.

Facilitators to data collection included:

  • Quality improvement checks
  • Stakeholder investment in modifying existing technology to collect equity elements
  • Cultural resonance training
  • A script to explain equity data collection to patients
  • Allowing patients to self-report sensitive items using technology

“Data quality has long been a concern for injury researchers. These Identified barriers and facilitators of collection and abstraction of equity-related data elements provide a framework for improving data collection so that we can better understand critical intervention points to address disparities for impacted patients,” said Dr. Megan Moore, School of Social Work’s Sidney Miller Endowed Associate Professor in Direct Practice.

Researchers on this study acknowledge successful implementation of equitable data collection will require standardized definitions, staff training, use of existing technology for patient self-report, and discrete fields for added elements.

This study was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Resources of the National Institutes of Health (#R21MD013486-01). The study was published in the Journal of Medical Systems.

This work has been conducted for the Injury related Health Equity across the Lifespan Program (iHeal) at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. The investigators represented the Department of Epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health; School of Social Work at the University of Buffalo, New York; the UW Department of Trauma Surgery and Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, at the UW School of Medicine.