Research

Injury Severity Score coding: Data analyst v. emerging m-health technology

R T Spence, E Zargaran, M Hameed, D Fong, E Shangguan, R Martinez, P Navsaria, A Nicol

Abstract


Background. The cost of Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) coding has limited its utility in areas of the world with the highest incidence of trauma. We hypothesised that emerging mobile health (m-health) technology could offer a cost-effective alternative to the current gold-standard AIS mechanism in a high-volume trauma centre in South Africa.

Methods. A prospectively collected sample of consecutive patients admitted following a traumatic injury that required an operation during a 1-month period was selected for the study. AISs and Injury Severity Scores (ISSs) were generated by clinician-entered data using an m-health application (ISS eTHR) as well as by a team of AIS coders at Vancouver General Hospital, Canada (ISS VGH). Rater agreements for ISSs were analysed using Bland-Altman plots with 95% limits of agreement (LoA) and kappa statistics of the ISSs grouped into ordinal categories. Reliability was analysed using a two-way mixed-model intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). Calibration and discrimination of univariate logistic regression models built to predict in-hospital complications using ISSs coded by the two methods were also compared.

Results. Fifty-seven patients were managed operatively during the study period. The mean age of the cohort was 27.2 years (range 14 - 62), and 96.3% were male. The mechanism of injury was penetrating in 93.4% of cases, of which 52.8% were gunshot injuries. The LoA fell within –8.6 - 9.4. The mean ISS difference was 0.4 (95% CI –0.8 - 1.6). The kappa statistic was 0.53. The ICC of the individual ISS was 0.88 (95% CI 0.81 - 0.93) and the categorical ISS was 0.81 (95% CI 0.68 - 0.87). Model performance to predict in-hospital complications using either the ISS eTHR or the ISS VGH was equivalent.

Conclusions. ISSs calculated by the eTHR and gold-standard coding were comparable. Emerging m-health technology provides a cost-effective alternative for injury severity scoring. 


Authors' affiliations

R T Spence, Codman Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA; Department of General Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

E Zargaran, Department of General Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada

M Hameed, Department of General Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada

D Fong, Department of General Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada

E Shangguan, Department of General Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada

R Martinez, Department of General Surgery, Vancouver General Hospital, British Columbia, Canada

P Navsaria, Department of General Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

A Nicol, Department of General Surgery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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Keywords

Injury severity scoring; Surgical outcomes; M-health technology; Quality improvement

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(10):1037-1041. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i10.10597

Article History

Date submitted: 2016-01-29
Date published: 2016-09-08

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