Positioning public health surveillance for observational studies and clinical trials: The St. Louis region-wide hospital-based violence intervention program data repository

Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2020 Dec 22;21:100683. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2020.100683. eCollection 2021 Mar.


Introduction: Firearm injuries are a public health epidemic in the United States, yet a comprehensive national database for patients with firearm injuries does not exist. Here we describe the methods for a study to develop and query a new regional database of all patients who present to a St. Louis level I trauma hospital with a violent injury, the St. Louis Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Program Data Repository (STL-HVIP-DR). We hypothesize that the STL-HVIP-DR will facilitate identification of patients at risk for violent injury and serve as a comparison population for participants enrolled in clinical trials.

Methods: The STL-HVIP-DR includes all visits made for violent injury to four level I trauma hospitals in St. Louis, Missouri between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019. Two health systems representing the four participating hospitals executed a data sharing agreement to aggregate clinical data on firearm injuries, stabbings, and blunt assaults. Dataset variables include demographic hospital and timestamp, medical, and insurance information.

Results: A preliminary cross-sectional query of the STL-HVIP-DR reveals 121,955 patient visits among the four partner level I trauma hospitals for a violent injury between 2010 and 2019. This includes over 18,000 patient visits for firearm injury.

Discussion: The STL-HVIP-DR repository fills a critical gap regarding identification and outcomes among individuals who are violently injured, especially those with non-lethal firearm injuries. It is our hope that the methods presented in this paper will serve as a primer to develop repositories to help target violence prevention services in other regions.

Keywords: Data repository; Firearm injury; Injury prevention; Public health.