This research project is in progress. PCORI will post the research findings on this page within 90 days after the results are final.
What is the research about?
A traumatic injury is a severe injury that requires immediate medical care. Children who have a traumatic injury often need special care from a child trauma center. But over half of children in the United States live at least 30 minutes away from such centers. As a result, many children with traumatic injuries receive care at emergency rooms, or ERs, in hospitals that don’t have child trauma centers. When this occurs, ERs use a standard approach, which includes consulting a child trauma specialist over the phone and, in many cases, transferring the child to a trauma center.
In this study, the research team is looking at virtual trauma care for children. The team wants to see if patients can receive effective trauma care without being transferred to a trauma center. In the virtual approach, a specialist from a child trauma center works with doctors in any ER to treat children by live video. The team is comparing virtual trauma care to standard care.
Who can this research help?
Results may help hospitals when considering ways to provide care for children with traumatic injuries.
What is the research team doing?
The research team is enrolling 380 children with traumatic injuries who visit one of 10 ERs in northern California. The team is assigning ERs by chance to offer standard or virtual trauma care. Standard trauma care includes a phone consultation with a child trauma specialist. Virtual trauma care includes a live video consultation with a child trauma center. In both approaches, children are transferred to a trauma center when necessary.
The research team is reviewing patients’ medical records and surveying parents 3 and 30 days after the child’s ER visit to learn about
- Parents’ reported distress and their experience with care
- Number of doctor visits and hospital stays within 30 days of the ER visit
- Out-of-pocket costs to parents
- How often patients were transferred from the ER to a trauma center
Families with children who had a traumatic injury and community members are helping to design and conduct the study.
Research methods at a glance
*All proposed projects, including requested budgets and project periods, are approved subject to a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and the negotiation of a formal award contract.