Thursday, 14 March 2019
Austroads’ latest report documents the first stage of a pilot project to improve the measurement and reporting of serious injury road crashes by matching police crash data and hospital data.
Neither crash data nor hospital data alone is adequate for reporting progress against the National Road Safety Strategy’s target of reducing serious injuries by 30 per cent.
Road transport agencies recognise that linking hospital and police data is integral to future reporting, as demonstrated by the results of the NSW linked data study conducted by Transport for NSW in 2017.
The Austroads study was designed to provide a proof of concept for a national approach to source and analyse data related to non-fatal hospitalised road injuries.
The report recommends proceeding to stage 2 to produce a series from seven of the eight Australian jurisdictions from 2008 to the latest year of data available.
Key outcomes for stage 1 include:
- Successfully linking 2014 crash, hospital and National Death Index data for five jurisdictions and gaining the necessary permissions to source Northern Territory data in stage 2.
- While Tasmania was not able to participate in the pilot, the agency responsible for hospital data has indicated it expects to participate in stage 2.
- Analysis of data for NSW, Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia, identified 30,803 hospitalised non-fatal road injury cases in 2014. Of these, 19,854 (64.5 per cent) were paired crash and hospital records and 10,949 were from hospital data alone.
- Comparisons of the values from the study and from jurisdictions varied significantly, except for NSW the only state to have previously linked their data.
- Permission was not obtained from data custodians and ethics committees to link files with identifying information, for use by authorised investigators and road safety agencies.
- Western Australian hospital data might become available under the Health Services Act 2016 when regulations and access arrangements are in place. Approvals will be sought in Stages 2 and 3.