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In recent years, we have seen a dramatic transformation of the knowledge economy. This transformation has been catalysed by the rapidly evolving capabilities of smart technologies and by increased recognition of the potential of using information being generated from ‘big data’ to empower society in a range of scientific endeavours designed to achieve the goal of improving the human condition. Former CDC Director William H Foege once wrote: “The reason for collecting, analysing, and disseminating information on a disease is to control that disease. Collection and analysis should not be allowed to consume resources if action does not follow.”1 The new sources of data, including big data and real-time data access, visualisation, electronic health records (eHealth), genomic risk profiling, data linkages and syndromic surveillance, have all contributed to the now-unfolding information revolution that has strengthened our public health capacity to direct and take action. Nowhere has this revolution become more apparent, nor more critical, than in the epidemiology, prevention and control of injury.
This supplement issue of Injury Prevention demonstrates that the science of surveillance has arrived as an essential element of contemporary injury prevention research and practice. The question is: how can new and ever-evolving technologies be harnessed by injury surveillance systems to achieve even better injury prevention and control benefits? The papers comprising this issue provide insights into answering this and related questions and point to the critical role new surveillance systems can play across a wide range of injury challenges.
The papers by Blair et al,2 Chiang et al,3 Lapidus et al4 and Peck et al5 address active systems in injury surveillance. These systems are in various stages of development, ranging from newly formed systems to well established systems whose implementation is now yielding benefits that are already being realised …
Contributors JPA designed and revised the paper. He is the guarantor. KAM and RJM created the initial draft and participated in revisions. JAT participated in the design and the revision of the paper.
Competing interests JPA is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The findings and conclusions in this manuscript are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.