Trauma Registry: Definition, Function & Components

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition, Anatomy, Physiology, and Sports Nutrition courses and has a master's degree in Dietetics & Nutrition.

Trauma registries are databases of information regarding patients who have been treated in a hospital for injuries caused by trauma. Learn all about trauma registry, including their components and functions.

Which Treatment is Best?

Jim is a 43-year-old who has just been admitted to the hospital for a fractured femur-- the long bone in the upper leg-- that he suffered in a car accident. Once Jim got to the ER, doctors and nurses immediately went to work treating his injuries.

How do the doctors and nurses know what treatments Jim should receive? There are several different ways that his injuries can be treated, so how do medical professionals know which one of these treatments they should use on Jim?

One way that medical professionals know which treatment will produce the most likely positive outcome for Jim is by using information learned from the trauma registry.

Trauma Registry

In the U.S., there are several different medical registries. Each of these registries are databases of information regarding specific types of medical conditions that result in a person going to a hospital to receive treatment.

One of these registries is known as a trauma registry. A trauma registry is a very large database of information about all the patients who have gone to a hospital to receive treatment for trauma injuries. Trauma injuries are sudden injuries caused by blunt force trauma to the body that require immediate medical attention, such as injuries sustained in car accidents, falls, and sports collisions. There are trauma registries for each state, as well as for the U.S. as a whole.

Trauma injuries are caused by blunt force trauma and include broken bones.

Whenever a patient is admitted to a hospital in the U.S. for trauma, pretty much all the information about that patient, their injury, and their treatment will be added to the trauma registry. This information includes:

  • The demographics of the patient
  • The specific type of injury of the patient
  • The treatment the patient received
  • The length of hospitalization
  • The outcome of the treatments

Most hospitals have dedicated staff whose main responsibility is to input all this information into the trauma registry. There is a national certification for inputting data into these large databases, and this certification is called the Certified Specialist in Trauma Registry (CSTR). To become certified, a person must be knowledgeable in anatomy, medical terminology, medical coding, computers, and more.

One of the most important roles of this person is to ensure that patient confidentiality remains during this process. Patient privacy laws forbid any patient names to be added to the trauma registry. Additionally, not just anyone can access the trauma registry. Only qualified individuals (mostly medical professionals) have access to this information.

Function of Trauma Registry

The most important function of a trauma registry is to improve medical care for trauma patients. The information contained in these databases can help to improve the effectiveness and quality of care. For example, let's say a medical researcher wants to find information about the effectiveness of treatments for fractured femurs (just like the injury Jim suffered). This researcher can access the trauma registry to see the treatments and outcomes of up to thousands of patients that suffered this specific type of injury. From this information, the researcher can determine which types of treatments resulted in the best outcomes for these patients.

A trauma registry can be used to improve the effectiveness and quality of care for trauma patients.

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