OTA 2011 Posters

Scientific Poster #1 Polytrauma OTA-2011

Do Changes in the Economy Impact Orthopaedic Trauma Volume?

Daniel S. Chan, MD1; Brandon Burris, MD2; Gerald Alexander, MD; Roy Sanders, MD1;
1Orthopaedic Trauma Service, Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA;
2University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA

Purpose: The effect of an economic recession on a population has been thoroughly studied, and, interestingly, a struggling economy is associated with overall health improvements. Human behavior also changes: as unemployment rises, job absenteeism decreases, more time is spent working, and less engaging in leisure/recreation activities. Similarly, decreases in motor vehicle collisions have been reported as well. To our knowledge, the fluctuation of orthopaedic trauma volumes related to economic changes has not previously been reported. This study compares the changes in orthopaedic trauma patients at a Level 1 regional trauma center to the dynamic health of the regional economy over a 10-year period.

Methods: This retrospective analysis (2001-2009) of our institution’s trauma registry compared changes in general trauma admissions and orthopaedic trauma surgical volumes to select local economic indicators (unemployment, building permits, and number of construction employees in the metropolitan area) and regional population growth.

Results: For the decade, the local county population experienced a steady annual growth between 0.9% and 2.9%. During that same period, all economic indicators showed extreme variability. The unemployment rate peaked in 2002 at 5.4% and bottomed out at 3.3% in 2006 before the most recent recession (10.7% in 2009). Construction workers were employed at a decade high in 2006, but also underwent a steady 36% fall by 2009. Annual county building permits behaved similarly, peaking in 2005, and by 2009 dropped 80%. The changes in trauma volume were observed most accurately in relation to the county’s annual unemployment rate. Orthopaedic trauma surgical cases had a significantly negative association with the county unemployment rate of the previous year (Pearson correlation coefficient = –0.84, P = 0.0098).

Conclusion: The answer is yes—the economy does impact orthopaedic trauma volume. The unemployment rate of the previous year is the best predictor. The county unemployment rate is inversely related to our Level 1 trauma center’s orthopaedic trauma surgical volume and demonstrates a 1-year lag effect.

Alphabetical Disclosure Listing (628K PDF)

• The FDA has not cleared this drug and/or medical device for the use described in this presentation   (i.e., the drug or medical device is being discussed for an “off label” use).  ◆FDA information not available at time of printing. Δ OTA Grant.