Croatian trauma system - is there a need?
Despite preventive program implemented by police forces, death rate due to road traffic accidents in Croatia remains at an unacceptable level. It is 40% higher than EU average and even two times higher than in Western countries with an established trauma system. These numbers clearly demonstrate that our health care system should be restructured in this segment. The main idea should be to abandon the current fragmented approach to the care of severely injured patients and to adopt a networking of prehospital, acute hospital, rehabilitation and public health components into a single chain of Croatian trauma system. Following international experience, this paper presents the concept, five methodological levels and four key determinants in creating a successful trauma system. Certain measures are specifically explained with guidelines for future action. Potential impact on death rate due to road traffic accidents in Croatia is estimated at 29% and social savings at 8% of total health care expenditure. However, trauma system segments cannot be "optimized" separately. Therefore, all clinical and financial decisions must be planned on the integral level only.
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