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Collection and local use of accident and emergency hospital data in England.
  1. H F Thomas,
  2. P S Morgan,
  3. D Hirst
  1. MRC Epidemiology Unit, Llandough Hospital, Penarth, South Glamorgan.

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE: To obtain information on the collection and local use of accident and emergency data. METHODS: A postal questionnaire was sent to 248 English accident and emergency (A&E) departments. Responses were obtained from 217 (88%). RESULTS: Only 87 (40%) of departments were fully computerised, with 109 (50%) using manual systems, and 21 (10%) a mixture of both. Significantly more computerised departments reported that they undertook studies (epidemiological, accident prevention, and resource management) than non-computerised departments. Only limited information on the types of injury studied was provided. The most common topics were childhood accidents, road traffic accidents, and poisonings. Staff in 45 departments (21%) reported membership of safety organisations. Around 90% of departments reported that they notified general practitioners and health visitors of their patients' attendance, usually within 3 d of the event. CONCLUSIONS: Computerisation appears to help the collection of A&E data for public health research. There is scope to increase the involvement of public health and other workers in epidemiological studies using A&E data. A&E departments should themselves become more involved with local safety organisations.

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