There is considerable confusion about the nature of indicators, their use in the injury field and surprisingly little discussion about these important tools. To date discussions of injury indicators have focused on the content and presentation of health outcome measures and on the dearth of data on exposure measures. Whereas these are valuable measures and assessing the optimal use of available routinely collected data in forming indicators is important, they do not provide sufficient information to support comprehensive prevention efforts, nor do they harness the full potential of indicators as tools to support prevention efforts. This paper provides an overview of the characteristics and uses of indicators for the field of injury prevention in order to make the case for action indicators and provide a framework for their appropriate use.
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