Emergency Department Record Keeping and the Potential for Injury Surveillance
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Successful design of injury prevention measures relies on understanding the occurrence and circumstances of injuries, which, in turn, necessitates that good quality data be collected about injured persons. The emergency department (ED) is an important source of injury information. This paper reports the results of a survey of all 129 hospital emergency departments in North Carolina to examine record-keeping practices and determine what information is collected and stored in the EDs. The findings demonstrate that there is considerable variability in the types of data that would be available to a researcher attempting to use ED records. Of special note is the absence of information about the external cause of injury.
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