Kali Thomas, PhD

Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice


Advance-CTR Pilot Projects Program (2017)

"Merging National Hospital Trauma Registry Data with Medicare Claims and Post-Acute Care Patient Assessments to Examine Predictors of Functional Improvement Among Older Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury"
Co-PI: Roee Gutman, PhD

There is little information available on the predictors of long-term outcomes of older patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Without this information, clinical decision-making and discharge planning will continue to be limited, thereby preventing ideal patient-centered, cost-effective, and appropriate care for older patients with TBI. The objective of this application is to merge multiple sources of data to examine predictors of successful outcomes, particularly the ability to return home following post-acute (PAC) rehabilitative care, among older patients age 65+ years with TBI. The rationale that underlies this proposed research is that an understanding of predictors of improvement in physical and cognitive function, PAC therapies, subsequent healthcare utilization and outcomes could impact care for older patients with TBI. This proposal has two specific aims: 1) To create a national longitudinal database that follows older patients with TBI through various stages of care and 2) To identify patient characteristics that predict community discharge. Under the first aim, the team will use deterministic and probabilistic matching techniques to merge data from the National Trauma Data Bank, the largest aggregation of national trauma registry data, with Medicare claims, and the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Patient Assessment Instrument (IRF-PAI). This is innovative because it will identify and retrospectively follow a national cohort of older patients with TBI from hospital admission through PAC discharge and include rich data on their injury characteristics, health, and outcomes. Under the second aim, the team will identify the health and contextual factors that are associated with older patients’ longer-term ability to return to the community following rehabilitation. The contribution of this work will be significant because it will provide patients, family members, providers, and healthcare systems with strong evidence needed to provide high quality TBI care for older patients. The expected benefit of this research is evidence that will: 1) enable clinicians to better understand the recovery trajectory and potential outcomes for older patients with TBI; 2) inform organization of care and rehabilitation services; 3) assist family members in setting expectations; 4) promote informed discharge planning; and 5) ultimately, enhance the health, independence, and quality-of-life of older adults with TBI. In addition, this work provides the first step in a continuum of research to be proposed in future R01 grant applications that is expected to elucidate the comparative effectiveness of different types and intensities of PAC therapies for various types of trauma, other longer-term health outcomes, and healthcare utilization, for patients with TBI, and differences in treatment and outcomes among various age groups with TBI.