ABU DHABI // The emirate's first registry of traumatic injuries is being rolled out to eight hospitals by year's end.
It is believed that the registry would be the first of its kind in the country.
"We will know what, when and how people in the region are getting hurt. If we know these facts, we'll know how to prevent injuries. This is the main thing, because accidents are 100 per cent preventable," said Norman Avila, the trauma programme manager at Al Rahba Hospital.
"The registry plays a major part in injury prevention. We do have data right now, but the problem with this data is that it is scattered and unstandardized so we are not really sure of the accuracy."
The public-sector Al Rahba Hospital got the ball rolling when it began its own trauma registry in 2010. The seven other hospitals to which the program would expand, a mix of public and private facilities, are not yet being revealed.
Organisers hope the registry would eventually roll out to all the emirate's hospitals and then across the nation.
"This is a critical issue to the country, and to the country's standard of living," said Dr Nellie Boma, the chief medical officer at Al Rahba. "We need to understand the magnitude of the problem."
Dr Saleh Saif Fares, deputy head of Zayed Military Hospital's emergency department, said that budget issues had held back the introduction of the registry, which is to be financed by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, but that it would soon be underway.
"We need to make decisions and policies based on solid and accurate data. Data is now the way to go," Dr Fares said.
The current systemis insufficient, he said.
"There is some sporadic data, here and there, but it is not as a system. What we are aiming for here is an emirate-wide trauma registry which will compile all real-time data into one system."
Dr Fares and Dr Boma are the co-chairmen of the Abu Dhabi Trauma System Initiative.
Last Thursday, Al Rahba Hospital held a workshop to teach other hospitals how to use the registry.
Such registries have been available in some western countries since the late 1930s, and the UAE system has been modelled on The American College of Surgeons National Trauma Registry System.
The Abu Dhabi registry is to record the vital statistics of each patient, the severity of their injury, the reason for their injury, and when and where it was sustained.
Still to be sorted out is what qualifies as a traumatic injury.
"Drowning in this country is a problem," noted Professor Fikri Abu Zidan, head of the trauma group at UAE University's Faculty of Medicine in Al Ain and a professor of trauma surgery.
Prof Abu Zidan established a stand-alone trauma registry at Al Ain Hospital in March 2003, but it was shelved in October 2007 because of a lack of funding.