Study objective: Injury is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Although the National Vital Statistics System provides data on injury-related deaths, a national surveillance system is needed for timely identification of emerging nonfatal injury problems and continuous monitoring of severe nonfatal injuries. This work assesses the feasibility of expanding the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to monitor all types and causes of nonfatal injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments and reports national estimates generated by a pilot study of this system.
Methods: At a stratified sample of US hospital EDs, persons receiving first-time treatment for an injury were monitored from May 1 through July 31, 1997. National estimates of the annual number and rate of ED-treated injuries overall, by patient characteristics, injury diagnosis, and external cause of injury were generated, and the sensitivity of the system for detecting ED-treated injuries was assessed.
Results: An estimated 29. 1 million injuries were treated in US EDs in 1997 (rate of 108.6/1, 000 population). The leading causes of injury were falls, being struck by or striking against an object or person, cutting or piercing, and motor vehicle traffic. Of 593 cases of injury detected by investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during visits to 6 of the 21 NEISS hospitals in the study, 490 were also detected by NEISS coders for an overall sensitivity of 82.6%.
Conclusion: Expanding the NEISS is a feasible means of timely and continuous monitoring of all types and causes of nonfatal injuries treated in US hospital EDs.