Injury Attributable Health Care Use and Mortality in Australia

Injuries, while largely preventable, represent a significant health burden in Australia. Each year injuries account for around 426,000 hospital admissions and 9,900 deaths in Australia and were estimated to cost the health system around $4.1 billion in 2004. Injuries leave many individuals with severe disabilities and chronic conditions that affect their quality of life and often require long-term health care.
On-going health care use is costly, both to the community and to the individual. It can disrupt work, study and leisure pursuits, and have a negative impact on relationships and health-related quality of life. Health care use and injury morbidity has not been extensively examined on a population-basis in Australia. This is largely because no single data collection is able to provide the information necessary for population-based research to examine national health care use and mortality. By conducting national data linkage of each jurisdiction’s hospital morbidity and mortality data collections, health care use and mortality of an hospitalised injured cohort in Australia will be able to be examined over time. The conduct of national data linkage will also allow cross-jurisdictional linkages will be able to be conducted to identify individuals who have used health care services in different jurisdictions, particularly around the borders of Australia states.
This proof of concept proposal, funded by the Population Health Research Network, will examine whether individuals 18 years of age and older who were hospitalised for an injury used health services in the year prior to their injury-related hospitalisation (i.e. pre-injury morbidity data) or in the year after their injury-related hospitalisation (post-injury morbidity and mortality data). It will then compare the health services use of the injured cohort to a non-injured comparison population selected from the electoral roll and matched on age band, sex and area of residence to the injured cohort.