Amalgamation of police and hospital trauma data in the Australian Capital Territory 2002-2003
AIM: Fatality measures of road trauma are insufficiently sensitive to guide policy in a small
jurisdiction. This study describes the findings of road trauma data matching and amalgamation in
the ACT for calendar years 2002 and 2003.
METHODS: Retrospective descriptive study of police and hospital data covering all road trauma
in the ACT. Both automated name matching and manual searching were used to match police
crash data with Emergency Department presentations to the only hospital with a major trauma
service. Deaths and hospital presentations were classified by outcome and duration of hospital
RESULTS: Of 23207 crashes on the Police database, 1079 were identified as leading to one or
more deaths or hospital presentations. A further 986 incidents, at least 373 of them on public
roads, were identified from hospital records, leading to a total of 2531 hospital episodes,
including 24 deaths and 151 admissions of more than 7 days duration, and a total of 5540 hospital
CONCLUSIONS: There are significant limitations to road trauma data routinely collected by
both by law enforcement and health personnel, reflecting operational constraints. This
methodology provides significantly higher quality data than previous approaches and successfully
quantifies the burden of road trauma.