Background Treatment and recovery times following injury can be lengthy, comprising multiple interactions with the hospital system for initial acute care, subsequent rehabilitation and possible re-presentation due to complications.
Aims This article aims to promote the use of consistent terminology in injury data linkage studies, suggest important factors to consider when managing linked injury data, and encourage thorough documentation and a robust discourse around different approaches to data management to ensure reproducibility, consistency and comparability of analyses arising from linked injury data.
Approach This paper is presented in sections describing: (1) considerations for identifying injury cohorts, (2) considerations for grouping Episodes into Encounters and (3) considerations for grouping Encounters into Events. Summary tools are provided to aid researchers in the management of linked injury data.
Discussion Careful consideration of decisions made when identifying injury cohorts and grouping data into units of analysis (Episodes/Encounters/Events) is essential when using linked injury data. Choices made have the potential to significantly impact the epidemiological and clinical findings derived from linked injury data studies, which ultimately affect the quality of injury prevention initiatives and injury management policy and practice. It is intended that this paper will act as a call to action for injury linkage methodologists, and those using linked data, to critique approaches, share tools and engage in a robust discourse to further advance the use of linked injury data, and ultimately enhance the value of linked injury data for clinicians and health and social policymakers.
- coding systems
Data availability statement
Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.
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Contributors KV and JW conceptualised the paper. KV undertook the first draft of the manuscript. All authors contributed to the concepts, framework and overall design of the paper. KV, JW and VM designed the flowcharts and tables. Application and testing of the approaches set out in the paper were undertaken by KV, RS and SB. KV, JW, VM, CC, AW and SM contributed to the drafting of and provided critical input into the manuscript. All authors reviewed and approved the final version.
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.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.