More than a half-century of developments have expanded the demand for data for the prevention of injuries. This article follows the progress as data collection becomes more comprehensive, encompassing all types of injuries, in a wide range of economic and cultural environments. It describes the challenges of new developments and the responses to deal with them, challenges of poor coordination of data sources, sector ownership, non-uniformity and missing data elements that are critical for prevention. The tools and approaches that may be employed are outlined, from observatories to surveillance systems, from standardised injury coding systems such as the International Classification of External Cause of Injuries to manuals and guidelines for collecting injury data through surveillance and surveys. More and better data encourages greater utilisation which in turn identifies new issues to be addressed, a most exciting situation for any injury practitioner.
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Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting or dissemination plans of this research.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.