Introduction: Electronic patient records are important for quality health services and efficient patient data management. In emergency care, saving valuable time during patient care is of great significance. One out of two fatalities due to trauma occur half an hour after the injury. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential effect of an electronic trauma documentation system on the length of stay in an emergency department. Methods: A 2-year observational study was conducted in the emergency department of a university hospital located in central Greece. The purpose was to compare 3 length-of-stay parameters with and without the use of an electronic documentation system. Ninety-nine trauma patients were monitored with the use of the electronic system, whereas 101 patients were monitored with a paper-based method (control group). Results: Statistical analysis using independent-samples t tests indicated that the time between admission and completion of the planned care was significantly lower in the electronic documentation patient group (100 ± 92 minutes) than in the control group (149 ± 29 minutes) (. P < .01). A similar effect was found on the total ED length of stay (127 ± 93 minutes in electronic documentation group vs 206 ± 41 minutes in control group, P < .01) and the time between completion of care and discharge from the emergency department (26 ± 10 minutes in electronic documentation group vs 57 ± 23 minutes in control group, P < .01). Discussion: We investigated 3 length-of-stay parameters and found that all were lower with the use of the electronic documentation system. This finding is important regarding the quality of trauma patient care because saving time during the first hours after the injury may determine the outcome of the trauma patient.
- Electronic documentation system
- Length of stay
- Trauma patients