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Open Access Research article

The experience of linking Victorian emergency medical service trauma data

Malcolm J Boyle

Author Affiliations

Monash University, Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice, P.O. Box 527, Frankston 3199, Victoria, Australia

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 2008, 8:52  doi:10.1186/1472-6947-8-52

Published: 17 November 2008

Abstract

Background

The linking of a large Emergency Medical Service (EMS) dataset with the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) hospital datasets and Victorian State Trauma Outcome Registry and Monitoring (VSTORM) dataset to determine patient outcomes has not previously been undertaken in Victoria. The objective of this study was to identify the linkage rate of a large EMS trauma dataset with the Department of Human Services hospital datasets and VSTORM dataset.

Methods

The linking of an EMS trauma dataset to the hospital datasets utilised deterministic and probabilistic matching. The linking of three EMS trauma datasets to the VSTORM dataset utilised deterministic, probabilistic and manual matching.

Results

There were 66.7% of patients from the EMS dataset located in the VEMD. There were 96% of patients located in the VAED who were defined in the VEMD as being admitted to hospital. 3.7% of patients located in the VAED could not be found in the VEMD due to hospitals not reporting to the VEMD. For the EMS datasets, there was a 146% increase in successful links with the trauma profile dataset, a 221% increase in successful links with the mechanism of injury only dataset, and a 46% increase with sudden deterioration dataset, to VSTORM when using manual compared to deterministic matching.

Conclusion

This study has demonstrated that EMS data can be successfully linked to other health related datasets using deterministic and probabilistic matching with varying levels of success. The quality of EMS data needs to be improved to ensure better linkage success rates with other health related datasets.