Most trauma-care systems are based on an urban model in which patients are found in sufficient proximity to the trauma center to allow preferential triage. The roles of other hospitals in the community are limited. In rural areas, patients may be remote from the trauma center and may require initial stabilization at a closer, nontrauma “center” designated hospital. An inclusive trauma system design is more appropriate in such situations.
The Emergency Department Approved for Trauma (EDAT) is a program implemented in a rural area of northeastern California that establishes minimum standards for non-trauma center designated hospitals in remote areas. It integrates these hospitals into the trauma system through transfer guidelines and agreements and participation in systemwide quality assurance/improvement programs. The EDAT program promotes both improved initial treatment of rural trauma patients and appropriate transfer of patients to designated trauma centers.