The Injury Severity Score (ISS) is a widely used method for quantifying the degree of injury sustained by trauma patients. This scoring system plays an essential role in trauma care research; the ISS allows for stratification of patients into comparable groups based on injury extent, making it possible to compare trauma patients in both retrospective and prospective trials. It is therefore fundamental in uncovering the factors that drive outcomes in post-trauma patient populations. The Trauma and Injury Severity Score (TRISS) is a tool used to predict the probability of survival in trauma patients; it is a function of both the ISS and the Revised Trauma Score (RTS).

A study out of the Medical College of Wisconsin examined the perception of injury severity by trauma patients. They found that there is no correlation between the injury severity perceived by trauma patients and the ISS assigned to them based up on their injuries. A study from the same group also demonstrated no correlation between ISS and health-related quality of life (HRQL). However, this study did demonstrate correlation between HRQL and perceived injury score, indicating that in this patient population: 1) a patient’s perception of injury severity may be important to overall outcomes; and 2) there is a wide gap between patient needs and standard methods of care provided.

The potential that lies within the concept of patient perspectives of injuries and how they cope and heal is vast, and we at Northwestern want to be on the cutting edge. We are seeking to confirm poor correlation between patient-perceived and healthcare-assigned injury severity scores, validate the importance of perceived injury severity, and examine various factors (personal, social, economic, gender, race, religion, physical health, mental health) underlying injuring perception. In order to facilitate patient recovery and HRQL, the hope is to: 1) build upon extant literature to expand this concept internationally; and 2) aid the integrative development of both new, comprehensive prognostic tools and precisely targeted biopsychosocial interventions.