Four Key Trauma System Principles Drive Best Opportunity for Successful Patient Outcomes


Four Key Trauma System Principles Drive Best Opportunity for Successful Patient Outcomes

Since its founding a century ago, the ACS Committee on Trauma (COT) has worked to transform the care of the injured patient by setting standards for emergency trauma care, which today includes a renewed focus on firearm injury and violence prevention.

Today’s Scudder Oration on Trauma, by Ronald M. Stewart, MD, FACS, will highlight “A Century of Commitment to Optimal Trauma Care: Lessons Learned and Opportunities for the Future.”

“There have been dramatic improvements in trauma care over the last 100 years resulting in significant improvements in both survival and functional outcomes,” said Dr. Stewart, past-COT Chair (2014–2018) and Trauma Medical Director (2018–2022). “The way patients recover and get back to normal function are all dramatically better than when Dr. Scudder formed the Committee on Fractures in 1922.”

The ACS Board of Regents appointed Charles L. Scudder, MD, FACS, as the first chair of the Committee on Fractures (now the Committee on Trauma), and he presented the first Fracture Oration in 1929 at Clinical Congress.

In his presentation, Dr. Stewart will describe significant milestones in trauma care and outline a strategy to drive the ongoing mission of the COT to improve the care for the injured patient.

“I believe patients in the US need an advocate for their care. We all need to focus on advocacy-related efforts related to the COT’s quality programs, educational programs, and trauma system development,” Dr. Stewart said. “We have a real opportunity to implement a national trauma and emergency preparedness system across every area in the US.”

Dr. Stewart—a senior trauma surgeon at University Hospital and chair of the surgery department at UT Health San Antonio in Texas—will describe four key “trauma system principles” that can lead to an improved approach for complex problem-solving. “If we were tasked with building a trauma system anywhere in the US, I can tell you that if we adhere to a few basic principles, we will almost certainly have long-term success,” he said.

These trauma system principles include: cultivating a maximally inclusive environment; developing consensus-based decision-making; promoting cooperation and communication; and having a bias for action focused on doing what is right for the patient.

“A key lesson of trauma system development and emergency healthcare in general is that cooperation and communication save lives,” Dr. Stewart said. “Get points of view from everyone who has a stake in the problem and who has a stake in the outcome, and then commit to making decisions by consensus.”

The Scudder Oration on Trauma is sponsored by the ACS Committee on Trauma.

For those who are unable to attend the lecture at 12:45 pm in Hall F, it also will be livestreamed and made available for on-demand viewing within an hour after the live presentation for both virtual and in-person registrants.

Watch Clinical Congress Sessions On Demand

Virtual registration is still an option for Clinical Congress 2022. An on-demand library of recorded sessions from San Diego is available until May 1, 2023.