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Developing valid indicators of injury incidence for “all injury”


Background/aims: This paper focuses on the methods used to develop indicators for “all injury” incidence for the New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy (NZIPS), launched in June 2003. Existing and previously proposed New Zealand national non-fatal injury indicators exhibited threats to validity.

Population/setting: The total population of New Zealand.

Methods: The authors proposed fatal and new non-fatal injury indicators for “all injury” based on national mortality and hospitalizations data. All of the candidate indicators were subjected to a systematic assessment of validity, using the International Collaborative Effort on Injury Statistics (ICE) criteria. Based on the results of that validation, the authors identified four proposed NZIPS indicators.

Results: The proposed “all injury” indicators were as follows: age standardized injury mortality rate per 100 000 person-years at risk; number of injury deaths; age standardized serious non-fatal injury rate per 100 000 person-years at risk; and number of cases of serious non-fatal injury. The authors identified no threat-to-validity when assessed against the ICE criteria. The estimated numbers and rates of serious non-fatal injury increased over the period, in contrast to the numbers and rates of fatal injury.

Conclusion: The authors have proposed serious non-fatal injury indicators that they judge suffer substantially less bias than traditional non-fatal injury indicators. This approach to indicator development is consistent with the view that before newly proposed indicators are promulgated, they should be subjected to formal validation. The authors are encouraged that the New Zealand Government has accepted these arguments and proposed indicators, and are starting to act on some of their recommendations, including the development of complementary indicators.

  • ACC, Accident Compensation Corporation
  • ICD, WHO International Classification of Diseases
  • ICE, International Collaborative Effort on Injury Statistics
  • ICISS, ICD-based Injury Severity Score
  • MVTC, motor vehicle traffic crash
  • NMDS, National Minimum Data Set
  • NZHIS, New Zealand Health Information Service
  • NZIPS, New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy
  • WHO, World Health Organization
  • indicators
  • incidence
  • validity
  • national policy

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