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WISQARS Cost of Injury for public health research and practice


Aim Since 2011 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) has demonstrated per-injury average and population total medical and non-medical costs of injuries by type (such as unintentional cut/pierce) in the USA. This article describes the impact of data and methods changes in the newest version of WISQARS Cost of Injury.

Methods Data sources and methods were compared for the legacy version of the WISQARS Cost of Injury website (available 2011–2021; most recent prior update was published in 2014 with 2010 injury incidence and costs) and the new version (published 2021; 2015-present injury incidence and costs). Cost data sources were updated for the new website and the basis for medical costs and non-fatal injury work loss costs changed from mathematical modelling (combined estimates from multiple data sources) in the legacy website to statistical modelling of actual injury-related medical and work loss financial transactions in the new website. Monetary valuation of non-medical costs for injury deaths changed from lost employment income and household work in the legacy website to value of statistical life. Quality of life loss costs were added for non-fatal injuries. Per-injury average medical and non-medical costs by injury type (mechanism and intent) and total population injury costs were compared for years 2010 (legacy website data) and 2020 (new website data) to illustrate the impact of data and methods changes on reported costs in the context of changed annual injury incidence.

Results Owing to more comprehensive cost capture yielding higher per-injury average costs for most injury types—including those with high incidence in 2020 such as unintentional poisoning and unintentional falls—reported total US medical and non-medical injury costs were substantially higher in 2020 (US$4.6 trillion) compared with 2010 (US$693 billion) (both 2020 USD).

Conclusions and relevance New data and methods increased the injury costs reported in WISQARS Cost of Injury. Researchers and public health professionals can use this information to proficiently communicate the burden of injuries and violence in terms of economic cost.

  • economic analysis
  • costs
  • mechanism

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data are accessible at

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