Objectives: The Quebec Trauma Care Continuum (TCC) was initiated in 1991 with the objective of providing accessible, continuous, efficient, and high quality services for all injury cases in the province.
Methods: The TCC design relied on three key components: (i) the designation of a network of acute care and rehabilitation facilities with specific mandates and responsibilities; (ii) the elaboration of transfer protocols, standing agreements, and governing structures to ensure fluid and optimal patient flow; and (iii) the close monitoring of several indicators to facilitate the continuous evaluation and improvement of the network.
Results: Between 1992 and 2002, in-hospital mortality following major trauma decreased from 51.8 percent to 8.6 percent, followed by an additional 24 percent drop between 1999 and 2012. We also observed a 16 percent decrease in average LOS but no change in the incidence of complications or unplanned readmissions. These changes translate into 186 lives saved per year and cost savings, due to shorter LOS, of 6.3 million CD$ per year. The risk-adjusted incidence of in-hospital mortality following major injury between 2006 and 2012 (7 percent) was the lowest of all Canadian provinces.
Conclusions: Strategic transformation of a network's structure and processes, supported by continuous monitoring of validated quality indicators, can lead to significant and sustainable improvements in clinical outcomes. It is hoped that the Quebec trauma story will inspire other jurisdictions and other healthcare sectors.