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Tracking traumatic injury mortalities to improve trauma care in B.C.

How do you improve trauma care and reduce the numbers of in-hospital deaths caused by traumatic injuries? You start by creating a comprehensive review process, then use the data for quality improvement.
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With over 700,000 people suffering injuries in B.C. each year and approximately 1,100 of them dying in hospital, Trauma Services BC recognized the need for a process to comprehensively review trauma deaths across the province, then use the data to identify areas for quality improvement.

Trauma Services BC collaborated with BC Patient Safety & Learning System (BCPSLS) and launched the provincial trauma mortality review process in August 2017. To date, clinical users are finding it very valuable.

What is the trauma mortality review process? 

It’s an electronic review module for in-hospital trauma deaths that can be shared among internal and external partners. Its purpose is to improve trauma care in B.C. by supporting comprehensive death reviews, identifying areas for quality improvement, and providing data to monitor performance trends.

Trauma-designated hospitals in B.C. are now able to report and review trauma-related deaths in a standardized way using the BCPSLS platform. Sites can also monitor how many trauma mortalities have taken place, determine how many were considered preventable and understand the reason why they were preventable using a standardized form, definition and process.

“I support the vision that every trauma death occurring in this province deserves a review.”
- Lisa, Trauma nurse coordinator, Royal Inland Hospital, Kamloops


The trauma mortality review module is housed within the BCPSLS database. It enables all sites and partners involved in trauma care provincially to:
  • speak the same language and standardize mortality reviews
  • share confidential information 
  • obtain reports that allow health authority comparisons
Mortality review information can be confidentially stored and shared between Trauma Services BC, all health authorities and BC Emergency Health Services. Report summaries provide valuable data to support planning and management of trauma care in B.C.

Leaders at Trauma Services BC have access to a provincial dashboard that enables them to examine a more complete picture of trauma mortalities across the province.

The review process for case-specific trauma mortalities in B.C. has three tiers:

  1. Local review: Site/hospital
  2. Regional review: Regional Trauma Program
  3. Provincial Review: Trauma Services BC

Flow chart showing review stages: Local Review - Site/Hospital; Regional Review - Regional Trauma Program; Provincial Review - Trauma Services BC

Although there are three tiers of review, they all use one form with standard definitions, helping to streamline communications and highlight system-level issues and reduce duplication.

Next steps

Trauma Services BC is also exploring ways of streamlining the provincial review process to promote fast, simultaneous review of multiple cases, build rigor around loop closure, and monitor implementation of provincial recommendations.


Trauma Services BC is dedicated to ensuring optimal care for trauma patients in British Columbia. It supports injury prevention by providing data to provincial and regional injury prevention and public health partners. Learn more at the Trauma Services BC web page.

SOURCE: Tracking traumatic injury mortalities to improve trauma care in B.C. ( )
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