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Cross system data linkage: Connecticut’s journey towards a traffic injury surveillance dataset


Abstract:  The Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center (CTSRC) and the Connecticut Department of Transportation are involved in a cross system data linkage project to integrate crash and injury datasets to improve traffic safety across state. The objective is to create a traffic injury surveillance dataset to understand crash circumstances and related injury outcomes. A comprehensive understanding of motor vehicle crashes is only possible if the crash data is linked with its vehicle and behavioral characteristics along with their specific medical and financial outcomes. Crash data contained in the Connecticut Crash Data Repository (CTCDR) was linked with the in-patient hospitalization data and emergency management system (EMS) data obtained from Connecticut Department of Public Health for 2015. A deterministic matching approach was used in an attempt to provide a high level of linkage specificity. Data were linked based on the Name of person, date of birth, and date of crash. The deterministic method was only considered successful for those cases where exact matches were confirmed. SAS v9.4 software was used for matching and analysis of the matched cases. For 2015, this linkage produced 30,263 records integrating in-patient utilization and crash data, however, there were only 13,179 linked records between crash and EMS data. The preliminary analysis of linked inpatient records showed that the linkage percent was higher among suspected serious (A) injuries (70%) compared to suspected minor (B) injuries (56%). Drivers (74%) dominated the data followed by passengers (23%). The mean length of stay was 1.34 (Range = 0-130 days) and the mean cost of care was $ 7,055 (range = 0-1 million). The main limitations of the study were the incomplete EMS data and absence of emergency department outpatient utilization data. Further analysis will focus on trends in fatal and non-fatal motor vehicle, motor cycle and pedestrian crashes, exploring injury severity as well as financial impact of distracted driving on economy, and identifying emerging persons at risk..

Dr. Smruti Vartak - has Master of Public Health from University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2004) and PhD in Health Services Research and Policy from University of Iowa (2010). Before coming to Connecticut Transportation Safety Research Center, she was Director of Public Health program at Allen College, Iowa. Her previous research focus on hospital organization factors related to patient safety and quality of care, clinical information system implementation, and staff perceptions about implementing electronic health records. She has assisted in designing and developing several grant proposals; and has written articles and reports for publication and distribution. Currently, she is working as an epidemiologist at CTSRC where she provides expertise in conducting epidemiological research in data linkage, injury prevention, analysis of risk taking behavior, and implementing effective countermeasures to advance traffic safety. Her research interest has encompassed a variety of methodological approaches.



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