Trauma Registry 101

Trauma registries are just one of the many patient registries that collect uniform data (clinical and other) to evaluate specified outcomes for a population defined by a particular disease, condition, or exposure. Trauma registries are focused on collecting data that can be used to improve the quality of trauma care for injured patients.

Did you know …

The first trauma manual was created during the Civil War under President Lincoln’s administration and the first trauma registry was started at Cook County Hospital (Chicago) in 1969.

First, it’s important to understand what a trauma center is – a hospital equipped and staffed to care for patients suffering from major traumatic injuries. Trauma centers are categorized by levels (i.e. Levels I, II, III, IV, and V), which are based upon the resources available and level of care they are able to provide. Trauma centers are verified at the state or local level and can choose to be evaluated by the American College of Surgeons (ACS). This voluntary “verification” is used to evaluate and improve trauma care.

Trauma registries are vital to the continued improvement in the quality of care provided to trauma patients. In order to collect the relevant data, trauma registrars must:

  • Have a comprehensive knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy, and procedures pertaining to an injured patient
  • Demonstrate expertise in data abstracting and analysis
  • Understand what information is needed to ensure data is entered accurately and completely
  • Know the basic principles for scoring tools, such as Injury Severity Score and Abbreviated Injury Scale
  • Be proficient using the Data Dictionary, the key tool for ensuring accuracy and consistency

The Certified Specialist in Trauma Registries (CSTR) credential is a voluntary certification administered by the American Trauma Society (ATS). In addition to the credential, the ATS highly recommends that trauma registrars hold a bachelor’s degree plus two to three years of full-time experience in trauma registry practice.

In addition to having registrars with these critical skills and credentials, a successful trauma registry must have an efficient, effective performance improvement program. The data elements collected are bound to change, as are the systems and software used to collect them. Making sure your team has access to ongoing education increases the quality and efficiency of your registry.

Trauma registries have played a significant role in the substantial decline in death and disability rates from injuries. Understanding the basics of trauma care systems will help facilities build strong registries to continue to improve trauma care.

Ciox offers comprehensive trauma registry outsourcing and management, including validation and quality improvements. Contact us at to learn more.

Source: – Registries for Evaluating Patient Outcomes: A User’s Guide and History and development of trauma registry: lessons from developed to developing countries

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