Anonymized Information May Decrease Violence Injuries

Data sharing may reduce violence-related hospital admission and wounding, but not minor violence

FRIDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- Combining police intelligence with anonymized information from patients injured in violence can be used to prevent violence causing wounding, but not for more minor violence, according to a study published online June 16 in BMJ.

Curtis Florence, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of anonymized information sharing to prevent violence-related injury. The intervention was started in Cardiff, in the United Kingdom, and results were compared with 14 other cities in England and Wales, which were designated as "most similar." Relevant anonymized data were collected from patients attending emergency departments due to injury from violence, and shared with police and local authorities over 51 months. Health service records of violence-related hospital admissions and police records of woundings and less serious assaults were the main outcomes measured.

The investigators found that information sharing and use correlated with a significant decrease in violence-related hospital admissions. The rates fell from seven to five a month per 100,000 population in Cardiff in contrast to an increase from five to eight in comparison cities (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 0.58). The average rate of police-recorded woundings increased from 54 to 82 per 100,000 population in Cardiff and from 54 to 114 in comparison cities (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 0.68). Less serious police-recorded assaults increased significantly from 15 to 20 a month per 100,000 population in Cardiff, but decreased from 42 to 33 in comparison cities (adjusted incidence rate ratio, 1.38).

"Communities can achieve substantial reductions in the public health burden of violence through organized data-driven partnerships between health and law enforcement agencies, and local government," the authors write.

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