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The Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand: progressing the evidence base for burn care

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Burn injuries are associated with high personal and financial costs,1 and acute care costs for severely injured burn patients may represent as little as 20% of the long term financial burden of burn injury.2 Despite the devastating consequences of burn injuries and the complexity and resource-intensive nature of burn care, the evidence base for burn management practice is severely inadequate. A study in 2009,3 reporting on the number and quality of trials in burn care, found only 257 randomised control trials in the burns literature over a 58-year period. Further, the quality of reporting in this small number of trials was poor, and it was noted that the heterogeneity of patients, injuries, interventions and outcome measures were significant impediments to conducting trials in burns patients.

The profound evidence gap resulting from the difficulty of designing and conducting randomised control trials in burn care, and the rapid emergence of new technologies for wound management and critical care have each contributed to a strong worldwide interest in developing burn injury databases to inform prevention strategies and to benchmark the quality of care. The National Burn Repository of the American Burn Association4 and the United Kingdom National Burn Injury Database5 are two examples.…