A regional medical operations center improves disaster response and inter-hospital trauma transfers

Eric E. Epley, Ronald M. Stewart, Preston Love, Donald Jenkins, Gina M. Siegworth, Toney W. Baskin, Stephen Flaherty, Robert Cocke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Delays in both inter-hospital trauma transfers and disaster response are common. We hypothesized patient flow could be improved by formal adoption of systems that improve cooperation and communication. Methods: The regional trauma database of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma and the Regional Medical Operations Center (RMOC) database were queried to test the hypothesis. Results: A total of 9507 trauma patients were transferred. Medcom resulted in decreased transfer process times. The RMOC was activated during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During two 24-hour periods, the RMOC coordinated the inter-hospital transfer of 781 patients and the movement of thousands of evacuees and special needs patients. Conclusions: Medcom, an organized system combining a communications center with formal trauma center cooperation, improves patient flow and reduces trauma transfer times. The RMOC, based on the same principles of cooperation and communication, allows for rapid transfer of hospitalized and special needs patients during disaster/mass casualty situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)853-859
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Communication
  • Cooperation
  • Disaster planning
  • Patient transfer
  • Regional medical systems
  • Trauma centers
  • Wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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