Researchers in injury prevention have long recognized the importance of monitoring the incidence of injury. Traditional methods for monitoring injuries, though, are expensive, time consuming or inaccurate. This report describes an alternative monitoring system; an Internet based capture-recapture surveillance for head and spinal cord injuries (SCI). Our surveillance is focused on all school age children in Allegheny County. Cases are defined as head and SCI events that result in a minimum of a 2-night hospital stay. Injuries are being identified from multiple sources, including schools, hospitals and rehabilitation centers. On a monthly basis, the sources report injury information to the coordinating center through the Internet via email or Web based form. Because of the concern of confidentiality no name identifiers are collected. Injuries from each of the sources are then linked based on collected case information and capture-recapture analysis is performed to estimate the total number of injuries. Currently, one level 1 trauma center and 41 out of 43 school districts in the county participate. An additional level 1 trauma center and rehabilitation center will join the study later this year. From January to December 1999, a total of 52 injuries were reported. This translates to a head and SCI incidence rate of 29.95 per 100,000. In conclusion, we have established a low-cost alternative to the traditional method of identifying head and SCI. This system holds the potential to change the current approach to injury surveillance in public health practice.
Learning Objectives: Describe and illustrate a new method for monitoring injuries
Keywords: Injury, Surveillance
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA