Feasibility of telephone-administered interviews to evaluate long-term outcomes of trauma patients in urban Ethiopia

Adam D. Laytin, Nebyou Seyoum, Aklilu Azazh, Ayalew Zewdie, Catherine J. Juillard, Rochelle A. Dicker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


background Little is known about long-term functional outcomes of trauma patients in low-income and middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa most studies of injury only collect data through emergency department disposition or hospital discharge, and methods of collecting long-term data are subject to significant bias. With the recent increase in access to mobile telephone technology, we hypothesized that structured, telephone-administered interviews now offer a feasible means to collect data about the long-term functional outcomes of trauma patients in urban Ethiopia. Methods We piloted a telephone-administered interview tool based on the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended. Using departmental logbooks, 400 consecutive patients presenting to two public referral hospitals were identified retrospectively. Demographics, injury data, and telephone numbers were collected from medical records. When a telephone number was available, patients or their surrogates were contacted and interviewed 6 months after their injuries. results We were able to contact 47% of subjects or their surrogates, and 97% of those contacted were able and willing to complete an interview. At 6-month followup, 22% of subjects had significant persistent functional disability. Many injuries had an ongoing financial impact, with 17% of subjects losing or changing jobs, 18% earning less than they had before their injuries, and 16% requiring ongoing injury-related medical care. Lack of documented telephone numbers and difficulty contacting subjects at recorded telephone numbers were the major obstacles to data collection. Language barriers and respondents’ refusal to participate in the study were not significant limitations. Discussion In urban Ethiopia, many trauma patients have persistent disability 6 months after their injuries. Telephone-administered interviews offer a promising method of collecting data about the long-term trauma outcomes, including functional status and the financial impact of injury. These data are invaluable for capacity building, quality improvement efforts, and advocacy for injury prevention and trauma care.Level of evidence III, retrospective cohort study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere000256
JournalTrauma Surgery and Acute Care Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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