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Data Integration: The Long Road Ahead

Abstract: North Carolina (NC) is a leading state in terms of motor vehicle crash (MVC) report data collection and analysis. In addition, NC has a long history of capturing and analyzing health outcome data for the development of evidence-based programs and policies. However, NC has not leveraged its strengths into developing a fully integrated MVC-health outcome data system. This presentation will briefly outline how data integration advanced from a county-based pilot project to a statewide project linking NC Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) crash report data with NC Healthcare Association (NCHA) hospital encounter data for all 2016 pedestrian and bicycle crashes. Starting with the second most populous county in NC, Wake County, the Carolina Center for Health Informatics (CCHI) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) linked NC DMV crash report, Wake Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and Wake County emergency department (ED) visit data for the year 2013. This pilot project was successful, with 62% and 32% of crash reports matching EMS and EMS-ED visit data, respectively. Therefore, CCHI moved ahead with a Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) funded project to facilitate efforts to link data at the statewide level. The first objective was to collaborate with crash report/health outcome data owners and users to brainstorm ideas for moving forward with statewide data linkage. After a series of large and small-group discussions to identify the best health outcome data sources for the initial data linkage, CCHI performed two demonstration projects:

1) linking crash report and EMS data and

2) linking crash report and NCHA hospital encounter data.

Rather than all MVCs, CCHI selected pedestrian and bicycle crashes for the following reasons:

1) contained population (2-3,000 per year versus 2-300,000 per year),

2) more likely to be injured and present in EMS and hospital encounter data sources,

3) Project Team expertise, and

4) statewide interest (NC rates of injurious pedestrian/bicycle crashes are increasing).

Based on the demonstration project results and stakeholder input, CCHI decided to collaborate with NCHA in linking all 2016 pedestrian/bicycle crashes with hospital encounter data. As part of this process, CCHI applied and received a NHTSA GO Team to help develop data linkage strategies and to lay the groundwork for an on-going data linkage process which will eventually encompass all MVCs and additional sources of health outcome data (Vital Statistics, UNC Trauma Registry, etc.). Even in its early stages, analysis of linked NC DMV crash reports and hospital encounter data has yielded interesting and informative results about pedestrian/bicycle crashes that could not be obtained within the individual data sources alone. Coauthor - Dr. Anna Waller, ScD Principal Investigator, Carolina Center for Health Informatics, UNC Chapel Hill

Katherine Harmon - holds a Masters of Public Health with a dual concentration of Environmental and Occupational Health and Epidemiology from Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO. Currently, Ms. Harmon is completing a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.



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