Manpower is a common term we use in every industry. In healthcare, it takes on a slightly different level of importance. Here, we try and balance job responsibilities and expectations with budgets and deadlines. There is no better example of this tight rope act than with the trauma registry.
The “manpower” of the trauma registry staff is unique. They are to identify patients, abstract all the data that is needed, enter it into the trauma registry, perform data validation, run reports, and submit all this error free data to the state and national trauma registries on a quarterly basis at a minimum of 80% compliance rate. This of course takes a lot of “muscle power” to complete this daunting task.
Therefore, the age-old question remains, how many charts should my trauma registrar complete in a day, week, or month. This is a multi-layered question at best. Let us first review the full-time equivalent (FTE) employee statement from the American College of Surgeons (ACS). In Chapter 15 of the Resources for Optimal Care of the Injured Patient 2014 book, they list staffing as a criteria deficiency. “The amount of time and effort that will be necessary to maintain the registry should not be underestimated. A designated and well-trained trauma registrar is critical to the success of a registry. One full-time equivalent employee dedicated to the registry must be available to process the data capturing the NTDS data set for each 500-750 admitted patients annually (CD 15-9)”[i]
This is a powerful statement, and one that is widely mis-used, or underestimated. As we begin to look at the statement the first element to focus on is the importance, they place on the trauma registry and its well-trained trauma registrar. They even go as far as to state the trauma registrar is critical to the success of the registry. The next key point is the FTE number “for each 500-750 admitted patients annually”. This is the first decision point to consider.