A research program involving five Indian hospitals in three cities – Mumbai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad—has taken on the challenge. The program is led by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, and Australia’s National Trauma Research Institute (NTRI), a partnership between Monash University and The Alfred Hospital.
The four-year Australia-India Trauma Systems Collaboration (AITSC) is funded through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund Grand Challenge Scheme supported by both countries’ governments. The AUD$2.6-million award is the first major funding of its kind in the world and brings together clinicians, academic partners, industry, governments and the World Health Organization Global Alliance for Care of the Injured.
Professor Russell Gruen, a trauma surgeon and key AITSC architect, hopes the AITSC will find answers that will be broadly applicable to lower- and middle-income countries globally—where 90 per cent of the world’s injuries occur—as the developing world faces an epidemic of preventable death through injury.
“We are looking at things that are relatively low cost and that can be implemented without wholesale health-system change to improve patient outcomes,” the Monash University professor said.
The collaboration will develop and test innovative pre-hospital, hospital, and post-hospital interventions that could improve care of the injured in countries at all levels of development. It builds on evidence that improving systems of care has been effective in reducing injury-related death and disability in high-income countries.
One of the first elements to be trialled is simply advising a hospital in advance that accident victims are on their way. Currently patients often show up without any warning, meaning already overcrowded hospitals are ill-prepared to treat them.
Rather than trying to implement entire new ambulance services or radio networks, existing mobile phone technology could be used to advise hospitals of incoming patients. AITSC project members will work with existing providers, including police, to develop this and other cost-effective options to help hospitals be better prepared when a patient arrives.
Professor Russell Gruen
Russell Gruen is a general and trauma surgeon at The Alfred, Professor of Surgery and Public Health at Monash University, and Director of the National Trauma Research Institute (NTRI). Under Professor Gruen’s leadership, the NTRI has developed research programs to improve care of the injured through more effective treatments, higher quality care, and better trauma systems.