Context Injury prevention requires data to inform policy and practice through surveillance, research and evaluation. NC DETECT, a syndromic surveillance system originally developed for bioterrorism and infectious disease identification and response, provides timely, population-based data for injury prevention efforts.
Purpose We use this system to monitor and respond to both long-standing prevalent injury issues and emerging threats, including COVID-19’s impact on injury.
Process Established in 2002 and legislatively mandated in 2005, NC DETECT uses statewide near-real-time emergency department (ED) and EMS data for North Carolina, USA (population >10.5 million). Data are available to users through a Web-based portal that includes options to generate custom data reports and personalize data dashboards. Targeted injury reports are sent to public health practitioners and prevention partners. New surveillance case-definitions and reports are added within hours of a request.
Analysis Statewide, all 24/7, acute care, civilian, hospital-affiliated EDs (currently N=130) submit data 3-times daily, while all EMS encounters are submitted daily. Over 4.5 million ED visits and over 1.5 million EMS encounters are added to NC DETECT each year.
Outcomes NC DETECT informs prevention efforts related to road safety, falls, overdose, violence, suicide, firearms, disaster response and climate resiliency. Weekly reports track trends for heat-related illness during summer months, monthly reports help counties monitor opioid overdoses and evaluate community-based interventions, and NC DETECT health outcomes data, integrated with motor vehicle crash report data, inform road safety policies and priorities.
Learning Outcomes Injury control professionals can use syndromic surveillance data to further prevention and practice efforts.
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