Utah County setting example for trauma center coordination

April 30 — PROVO — Utah County’s four designated trauma centers are setting the example for the rest of the state when it comes to coordinating efforts to treat critically injured patients – and that means better care for everyone.

Utah Valley Regional Medical Center is a Level 2 Trauma Center while American Fork Hospital, Mountain View Hospital and Timpanogos Regional Hospital are all Level 4 Trauma Centers. Representatives from each hospital meet quarterly as a group to discuss trauma care in the county – something that’s not seen anywhere else in the state.

“Utah County is the only county in the state with that kind of coordination between facilities, although Salt Lake is trying to pull together a similar group,” said Craig Cook, MD, trauma director at Utah Valley Regional. “We’ve broken through many barriers by meeting together which has greatly improved our outcomes from traumatic injuries.”

Each hospital that becomes a trauma center develops consistent processes and procedures that enable the physicians and staff to give the best care to an injured patient. There are five different levels of trauma centers that provide access to different levels of resources:

  • Level 4 & 5 centers can care for an injured patient in the initial phase of treatment, then admit those with straight forward injuries or transfer the more injured to a higher level center as needed. 
  • Level 3 centers can provide initial care and may admit and care for moderately severe injuries if appropriate specialties are available, but will transfer the more severely injured to a Level 1 or a Level 2 center. 
  • Level 2 and 1 centers provide definitive care to critically injured patients from the Emergency Room to the Intensive Care Unit and to Rehabilitation. 
  • Level 1 centers must demonstrate a commitment to trauma research and education that other centers do not.
“When you’re hurt, you need to be in the right place at the right time,” said Dr. Cook. “Having all the trauma centers in Utah County coordinating efforts on a regular basis means our community members will get to the best place to care for their injuries.”

Utah County's four designated trauma centers are leading the state in coordination efforts, which means better care for patients.