Injury remains the most significant cause of death in Americans under 44 years old and the fourth most prevalent cause of death overall. Injuries can result in long-term disability, however trauma outcomes are frequently measured only by 30-day mortality and morbidity. While these short-term outcome measures are meaningful and helpful to examine, they often fail to capture longer term outcomes which in many cases are more impactful for patients.
The CSPH’s Functional Outcomes and Recovery after Trauma Emergencies (FORTE) study is collecting data from patients to understand the long-term recovery experience after traumatic injury. Team members are building a database of long-term patient-reported outcomes after trauma to measure factors that are meaningful to patients and their families, including functional status, health-related quality of life, symptoms and treatment adherence, and more. To collect this information, team members have made thousands of phone calls to trauma patients at three institutions: Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital. This information, when added to a registry, will help patients and providers anticipate long-term outcomes of a specific condition and inform decisions about health care. It will also help researchers, clinicians, and policymakers understand the impact of specific treatments and systems of care on trauma outcomes.
The FORTE study is the first in a series of steps to eventually develop a multi-institutional, sustainable longitudinal registry of functional and patient-centered outcomes in the United States.