Study objective: To assess current emergency department data collection practices in Pennsylvania and determine whether existing data sources can be used as part of a statewide injury surveillance system.
Methods: Separate survey questionnaires requesting information on current ED patient data collection practices and attitudes were mailed to all directors of medical records, billing, and EDs in Pennsylvania (N = 212).
Results: Of the medical records department respondents, 92% indicated that ED registration data are retained in a computerized information system; 94% of respondents from billing departments reported that their ED patient registration system is integrated with an ED billing system. A total of 36% of EDs surveyed use a computerized ED patient logbook, and another 27% plan to begin a computerized log within 2 years. Dictation and transcription services that permit electronic retrieval of text are being used by 26% of EDs for patient medical records.
Conclusion: Many elements for building a statewide ED injury surveillance system are in place in Pennsylvania, but they are as yet incomplete. Future studies should examine the feasibility of integrating existing ED data systems into statewide injury surveillance systems.