Improving injury surveillance data quality: a study based on hospitals contributing to the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset

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Objective: In this paper, we describe the design and baseline data of a study aimed at improving injury surveillance data quality of hospitals contributing to the Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset (VEMD). Methods: The sequential study phases include a baseline analysis of data quality, direct engagement and communication with each of the emergency department (ED) hospital sites, collection of survey and interview data and ongoing monitoring. Results: In 2019/20, there were 371,683 injury-related ED presentations recorded in the VEMD. Percentage unspecified, the indicator of (poor) data quality, was lowest for ‘body region’ (2.7%) and ‘injury type’ (7.4%), and highest for ‘activity when injured’ (29.4%). In the latter, contributing hospitals ranged from 3.0–99.9% unspecified. The ‘description of event’ variable had a mean word count of 10; 16/38 hospitals had a narrative word count of <5. Conclusions: Baseline hospital injury surveillance data vary vastly in data quality, leaving much room for improvement and justifying intervention as described. Implications for public health: Hospital engagement and feedback described in this study is expected to have a marked effect on data quality from 2021 onwards. This will ensure that Victorian injury surveillance data can fulfil their purpose to accurately inform injury prevention policy and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • data quality
  • emergency department
  • injury prevention
  • injury surveillance
  • protocol

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