How long have you been using AIS?
My first contact with AIS was in 2007 when I attended the AAAM Coding Course in San Antonio, Texas. It was also my first time in the United States. Since then, I’ve been using AIS for 13 years.
What inspired you to obtain CAISS credentials?
My PhD was based on AIS and AIS coding was essential to develop it. I wanted to obtain the maximum level of specialization in injury coding in order to get the maximum level of rigor in coding and to ensure the highest quality of data possible.
What are your main areas of interest in the field of injury scoring?
In order to overcome a problem, we need to know it. Injuries are a public health issue. Injury severity coding is essential to address this public health problem. My areas of interest include expanding injury coding to countries that traditionally do not record injury severity data and contributing to the adoption of AIS as a universal language that allows the comparison of data internationally.
What do you find most rewarding about working in this field?
I’ve been a mobile advanced life support nurse for many years. In that time, I’ve seen the evolution of injuries… how medical care has exponentially advanced, how vehicles are safer, how car crashes have decreased, how roads have been improved, how health policies have improved to protect people from injury, etc.
Thinking that I’m doing my bit improving injury coding, spreading AIS and ultimately, contributing in some way to improve injury prevention and people’s quality of life, is the most rewarding aspect for me.
What do you hope to accomplish while on the AIS Certification Board?
Being a member of the AIS certification Board is very rewarding for me. It has helped me become aware of the importance of being rigorous in injury coding and has given me the opportunity to learn from top experts.
I hope to contribute to the improvement of injury coding, to the improvement of the quality of the data that will be used in research and also to ensure data comparability between different countries all around the world.
What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?
My main hobby is mountain climbing, so it’s another good reason to be concern about injury severity besides just for research purposes!!
How do you think the field is changing and what trends do you see coming up on the horizon?
At the beginning of injury coding and AIS development, evidence-based research was not available and AIS was developed through consensus of experts. Now we are in an era of evidence-based research. Newer versions have attempted to utilize evidence-based research, and even when both methods are needed, I think it will have more specific weight than consensus of experts in next AIS updates.
What advice would you give to someone interested in CAISS credentials?
CAISS credentials is the highest standard in AIS coding and imply a deep knowledge of AIS and coding rigor. Someone certified as an AIS specialist is a reference person in AIS coding with a great knowledge of AIS dictionary, AIS coding rules, anatomy, injury description and medical terminology.
My advice for someone interested in CAISS credentials would be to work on AIS coding at least one or two years while following the coding rules as precisely as possible and solving every single query by asking an AIS specialist if necessary.
What’s one thing – either field-related or not – you learned in the last month?
The COVID-19 pandemic has put us in check as a society. It has made us more conscious of the fragility of human beings. We have seen how our priorities have changed in a very short time and it has made us reflect on how relative our experience of the world is.
Severity is a concept that has evolved over time. It is a compound of many dimensions. In relation to injury severity, some of these dimensions are threat to life, tissue damage, mortality, the possibility of permanent disability, the cost and complexity of treatment, the need for intensive care, the possible loss of quality of life, etc.
This pandemic could be a turning point in the concept of severity and the relative weight that each dimension has on the concept itself.
I hope this will make us stronger as a society and more committed to the common good.
Is there anything else you would like to share with your colleagues?
The World Health Organization has urged all countries to define “major trauma” in a simple way and to collect injury severity data. AIS stands out as the Injury severity scale. The collection of injury severity data is still a work in progress in many countries, for this reason, we must make great efforts to universalize the availability of such data, in high-income countries but also in mid and low-income countries. There is still a lot of work to be done.