Aims: To identify existing surveillance initiatives and to seek and reach consensus on a national minimum data set for injury surveillance in public hospital emergency departments in New Zealand.
Methods: Every public hospital emergency department was visited to obtain information on current surveillance initiatives. At the same time, guidelines for a national minimum data set for injury surveillance were considered. National organisations who might use the information were contacted and also asked to consider the guidelines.
Results: Of the 43 public hospital emergency departments visited, five had on-site computerised information systems, the majority collecting data manually. Basic demographic data and information in a narrative form were the only data recorded consistently by all hospitals. A national minimum data set for injury surveillance was adopted by general agreement at a consensus forum, held in Wellington, in March, 1992. Current developments indicate that the minimum data set for injury surveillance, as adopted at the forum will become a component of the National Minimum Data Set within the proposed Health Information Strategy for New Zealand.
Conclusions: Injury data collection will, in time become mandatory. However, the promotion of the minimum data set for injury surveillance by health professionals, national organisations and community groups will be essential to ensure its implementation and utilisation for the prevention and control of injuries.