Exploring the Complexities of Trauma Care Flow and Documentation

Patel, D.1, Pruitt, Z.1, Romero Barrientos, R.1, McEwen, T.2, Metzger, M.2, and Fong, A.1

The Human Factors 64th International Annual Meeting (October 2020). 

Trauma care is complex as severe injuries happen unexpectedly, may not immediately present symptoms, and may require assessment by multiple providers to improve outcomes. This work aims to explore the complexities of trauma patient flow and documentation challenges through semi-structured interviews of both in-field and in-hospital providers. Ten trauma care providers were asked to explain their typical workflow and documentations related to trauma care. We found that trauma care flow is convoluted and non-linear depending on several factors, such as how the patient enters the system and the severity of injuries. Additionally, documentation practices vary, following no specific guidelines, partly due to the chaotic nature of incoming traumas. Participants mentioned using apps to aid workflow, but none were used to aid in documentation or clinical handover. Documentation usually takes place on paper or away from electronic devices, which has design implications for clinical decision-support or artificial intelligence development tools.

1 National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MedStar Health
2 Charles River Analytics

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