Although accidents have been termed “the neglected disease of modern society,” considerable research efforts have been directed to this problem. One of the difficulties in accident research has been that up to the present time, there has been a lack of information relating to accidents on a nationwide basis. Efforts are presently being made to employ computer technology in amassing the data that will be necessary for meaningful research from which practical conclusions can be drawn. In Chicago, the resources of the University of Illinois and the Cook County Hospital have been joined together to develop a computerized trauma registry.
The initial purpose of the registry is to collect data from hospitals and other sources about all types of accidents. The registry records information such a.s how long it takes the accident victim to receive help,
what kind of medical care is available, whether or how long hospital treatment is necessary, what types of medical personnel are needed to handle the emergency, and what medical procedures are required. Once this information has been accumulated and analyzed, it can be used to formulate guidelines for accident care and preparedness that could be used by physicians and hospitals across the nation.
For example, a hospital located in an area in which some particular type of accident was shown to occur frequently, could utilize the trauma registry’s guidelines to determine what facilities and personnel it should try to maintain or have on call to deal with that type of accident. The hospital would also have available information as to what types of injuries or complications frequently resulted from the particular type of accident, and so could approach the tasks of examination and diagnosis with efficiency. Central information registries of this sort have proven useful in certain limited areas, such as poison control, and the purpose of the trauma registry is to expand this concept to the broad area of accidents of all types.
Hospitals and other medical facilities would eventually be linked to the computerized Trauma Registry in Illinois by electronic dataphones, providing for instantaneous transmission of information. This will be an especially valuable accomplishment in the area of accident treatment, the success of which may often depend on how quickly it can be applied.