Appropriateness of patients transferred with orthopedic injuries: experience of a level I trauma center

Robert S. O’Connell, Emanuel C. Haug, Pramote Malasitt, Satya Mallu, Jibanananda Satpathy, Jonathan Isaacs, Varatharaj Mounasamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Trauma patients are frequently transferred to a higher level of care for specialized orthopedic care. Many of these transfers are not necessary and waste valuable resources. The purpose of this study was to quantify our own experience and to assess the appropriateness of orthopedic transfers to a level I trauma center emergency department. Methods: A retrospective review of orthopedic emergency department transfers to a level I trauma center was performed. Data collected included time of transfer, injury severity score (ISS), age, gender, race, orthopedic coverage at transfer institution, and insurance status. Two orthopedic trauma surgeons graded the appropriateness of transfer. A weighted logistic regression model was used to compare dependent and independent variables. Results: A total of 324 patient transfers were reviewed; 65 (20.1%) of them were graded as inappropriate. There was no statistically significant relationship between appropriateness of transfer and age, availability of orthopedic coverage, night/weekend transfer, or insurance status. Regression analysis showed that only ISS (OR 1.130, p = .008) and “polytrauma” (OR 25.39, p < .0001) designation were associated with increased odds ratio of appropriate transfer. The kappa coefficient for inter-rater reliability between the two raters was 0.505 (95% CI, 0.388–0.623) reflecting moderate agreement. Conclusion: Inappropriate transfers create a significant medical burden to our health care system using valuable resources. Our study found similar results of inappropriate transfers compared to previous studies. However, we did not find a relationship between insurance status or nights/weekends and transfer appropriateness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)551-554
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Appropriateness
  • Transfer
  • Trauma center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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