Information available at national and European level tends to focus on fatal injuries, and hence so does policy. However, deaths represent only a small part of the total injury spectrum – for each fatal injury, hundreds more casualties due to accidents or violence are treated in hospitals.
Since few countries collect information on causes and circumstances of these injuries in hospital records, most governments do not know how to address the increasing burden of injuries in their countries. It is therefore important to enhance the reporting of injury cases, in particular the most serious cases that are being treated in hospitals’ Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments.
In recent years, the European Commission stimulated several projects with the view to facilitate EU-level exchange of injury data. At present, 15 member states have developed a common monitoring system in hospitals, which provides the necessary detailed information, in addition to existing health and accident statistics. This system, known as the European Injury Database (IDB), enables the derivation of health status indicators as incidence rates of injuries in certain areas like home, school, sport and leisure activities, self-harm and interpersonal violence. Moreover, it provides information about settings, activities and products involved in injuries, for specifying and monitoring targeted injury prevention actions and programmes.
The challenge today is to use the lessons learned in these countries to work towards an EU-wide exchange of injury data. This data needs to be collected in a uniform way, with all EU member states reporting injury data in a sustainable manner.
Two datasets – a full in-depth system and a minimum dataset (MDS) – have been designed and agreed, and the MDS will be implemented as a minimum across 34 EU and accession countries across Europe.
The data quality manual contains advice on sampling, methods to determine representativeness, calculation of the national incidence rates for the EU European Community Health Indicator on home injuries, and technical advice on measuring the population burden of injuries
EU Executive Agency for Health and Consumers