Background Injury data from emergency departments (EDs) as used for the European Injury Database (IDB) can deliver most useful health indicators – beside mortality data. The current EU health information system requests EU member states to apply the IDB methodology and to deliver injury incidence rates for major domains of prevention (European Core Health Indicators ECHIs). Previous analyses (2011 – 2013) unveiled oversize variations between country estimates, which led to methodological improvements of sampling standards and national reporting requirements (metadata).
Objectives To estimate EU and country rates, based on most recent data of the EU IDB (2013 – 2015) for main prevention domains (home and leisure, sport and school, road traffic, workplace, violence and self-harm); to detect shortcomings of national IDB implementations, which may affect validity and comparability of IDB-based ECHIs.
Methods IDB data from 22 European countries 2013–2015 were used for the estimation of national and EU incidences. According national metadata files were analysed to identify deviations from the standard methodology. Findings: The general ED based injury rate is 7.49% of the EU population, which means about 38.07 million ED treatments annually in the EU of 28 countries. 52% of all these injuries are home, leisure and school accidents (ECHI 29), road traffic account for 8.8% and work-place for 9.4%. However, many national IDB implementation still do not fully comply with the standards, e.g. by collecting data only in insufficiently controlled samples of hospitals. Some countries still do not have EU compatible surveillance systems.
Conclusions The European injury surveillance system IDB serves the intended purpose of providing meaningful health indicators for the various responsible policy sectors, but many national implementations need improvements. More attention on comparability and better central support to member states need to be provided by the future European Health Information system.
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