Trauma surveillance goes mobile

Arriving for what he thought was only a brief research placement soon developed into a career-changing opportunity when Dr. Zargaran came face-to-face a much larger challenge: a massive trauma centre, without the time or manpower to keep their trauma database up to date, let alone evaluate the paper records and use them to better inform trauma care.

Instead of helping to transcribe the data and make a dent in the record pile, Dr. Zargaran, together with his research supervisor and closest mentor, Morad Hameed, an Assistant Professor of Surgery at UBC and trauma surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital, decided to look one step further, towards a ground-breaking solution that would change the face of injury surveillance altogether.

The solution? Develop a tablet-based application that could be used by front-line trauma clinicians in Cape Town to complete their medical charting duties at the point of care.

Four years later, and the application, known as the electronic Trauma Health Record, or eTHR, is making waves in Cape Town.

Since implementation in the spring of 2014, the app — which also analyzes the initial assessment, resuscitation, operation and discharge data to generate a real-time and self-populating trauma registry — has logged well over 15,000 trauma patients. “The hospital went from capturing only basic admission data, to becoming one of the most sophisticated real-time trauma databases across low-income countries, collecting information on everything from procedures to patient outcomes,” explains Dr. Zargaran.

Not only are clinicians at Groote Schurr Hospital now using the records to gain insight into patterns and causes of trauma in the region, but strengthen injury prevention and improve trauma care delivery.