Magazine article The Nation's Health

Advocates Call for Changes in Injury Data Reporting: Improved E-Coding Could Lead to More Prevention Techniques

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Advocates Call for Changes in Injury Data Reporting: Improved E-Coding Could Lead to More Prevention Techniques

Article excerpt

A NEW push is under way to improve the way hospitals code injury data --especially for nonfatal injuries--to better drive prevention efforts and allow for state-by-state comparisons.

Several APHA members are involved in the effort, which is a revitalization of earlier tries to standardize external cause-of-injury coding, or e-coding, in data systems used by state-based hospital discharge systems and emergency department data systems. Change is needed, those behind the movement say, to gather a clearer picture of injuries.

While there are 170,000 injury-related deaths in the United States each year, emergency room data systems report up to 20 million injury-related emergency department visits and 1.9 million yearly hospitalizations due to injury. In other words, a wealth of data could be mined to understand community-specific injury patterns and to develop prevention programs best tailored to prevent many of those injuries.

"When most people talk about the problem of injury in this country, they focus in on mortality data because we have virtually 100 percent collection of mortality data," APHA member J. Lee Annest, PhD, director of the Office of Statistics and Programming at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, told The Nation's Health.

The March 28 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report's Recommendations and Reports outlines the issue of inconsistent injury data collection and gives recommendations on how to bring about a standardized system of e-coding.

"These data systems are our primary source of being able to get info on injuries and characteristics of those who are injured and seek care," said Annest, a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention workgroup that drafted the report. "The problem is that there is a lot of variability among states in terms of the completeness, accurateness and specificity of the codes that are collected."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Some states have been able to standardize nonfatal injury e-coding and turn the resulting data into powerful prevention programs. For example, the California Department of Public Health used e-coded data to describe what are called "nonfatal drownings" in swimming pools and spas among toddlers. Data collected in 1995 was broken down to include demographic risk factors and hospital charges. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.