DOI: 10.1093/bjs/znad253 ISSN:

A standardized trauma intake form with clinical decision support prompts improves care and reduces mortality for seriously injured patients in non-tertiary hospitals in Ghana: stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial

Adam Gyedu, Barclay T Stewart, Emmanuel Nakua, Peter Donkor
  • Surgery



The WHO Trauma Care Checklist improved key performance indicators (KPIs) of trauma care at tertiary hospitals. A standardized trauma intake form (TIF) with real-time clinical decision support prompts was developed by adapting the WHO Trauma Care Checklist for use in smaller low- and middle-income country hospitals, where care is delivered by non-specialized providers and without trauma teams. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of the TIF for improving KPIs in initial trauma care and reducing mortality at non-tertiary hospitals in Ghana.


A stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial was conducted by stationing research assistants at emergency units of eight non-tertiary hospitals for 17.5 months to observe management of injured patients before and after introduction of the TIF. Differences in performance of KPIs in trauma care (primary outcomes) and mortality (secondary outcome) were estimated using generalized linear mixed regression models.


Management of 4077 injured patients was observed (2067 before TIF introduction, 2010 after). There was improvement in 14 of 16 primary survey and initial care KPIs after TIF introduction. Airway assessment increased from 72.9 to 98.4 per cent (adjusted OR 25.27, 95 per cent c.i. 2.47 to 258.94; P = 0.006) and breathing assessment from 62.1 to 96.8 per cent (adjusted OR 38.38, 4.84 to 304.69; P = 0.001). Documentation of important clinical data improved from 52.4 to 76.7 per cent (adjusted OR 2.14, 1.17 to 3.89; P = 0.013). The mortality rate decreased from 17.7 to 12.1 per cent among 302 patients (186 before, 116 after) with impaired physiology on arrival (hypotension or decreased level of consciousness) (adjusted OR 0.10, 0.02 to 0.56; P = 0.009).


The TIF improved overall initial trauma care and reduced mortality for more seriously injured patients.

Registration number

NCT04547192 (

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