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About Fall Related Injury Data 

Tracking Fall Related Injuries involves collecting data about the number of deaths, hospitalizations or emergency room visits for Fall Related Injuries.

This page provides general information about the fall related injury data and measures developed by the Iowa Public Health Tracking program. Contact Us for more information about these data.

Information on this page:

What do these data tell us?

  • The numbers and rates of unintentional fall related injury hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) visits, or deaths by year, gender, race, or age group in Iowa.
  • If a measure is going up or down over time.
  • If a segment of a population is at higher risk for hospitalization, a visit to the ED, or death resulting from unintentional fall related injuries in Iowa.

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How can we use this data?

  • To inform the public about unintentional fall related injury hospitalizations, ED visits, and deaths in Iowa.
  • State and local partners can use these data for program planning and evaluation.

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What can these data not tell us?

  • The circumstances that led to the fall related injury occurring.
  • What part of the body was injured.
  • The number of people hospitalized or who visited the the ED for a fall related injury injury. Because personal identifiers are removed from the hospital discharge data before analysis, individuals who have multiple hospitalizations or ED visits cannot be identified.

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What are the sources of these data?

  • Hospitalization and emergency department data are collected by the Iowa Hospital Association on behalf of IDPH in accordance with Iowa Code section 135.166.
  • Deaths data are collected along with other vital events such as births and marriages. In Iowa, official registration of all vital events are recorded and maintained by local registrars located in county recorders offices, and with the IDPH Bureau of Vital Statistics.
  • Bridged-race population estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics and US Census. Data from 2010-most current year are based on the postcensal population estimates.

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What time period of data is available?

  • The Iowa Public Health Tracking portal displays fall related injury data from the year 2009 through the most recent year of data available.

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How are Fall Related Injury hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) visits, and deaths identified?

  • Hospitalizations are defined as Iowa residents who are discharged from a hospital in Iowa.
  • Emergency Department visits are defined as Iowa residents who are treated and released or subsequently admitted to a facility in Iowa.
  • Prior to October 2015, Unintentional fall related injuries were defined based on the State Injury Indicators Report published by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Since October 2015, Unintentional fall related injuries were defined based on the recommendations of the Injury Surveillance Workgroup (ISW9) published in collaboration with the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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What is the difference between a number, rate, age-adjusted rate, and age-specific rate? How would I use them?

Number:

  • If you want to understand the magnitude or how big the overall burden is, then use the number.
  • The number indicates the total number of hospitalizations, ED visits, or deaths, but not the number of unique individuals hospitalized or admitted to the ED.
  • To protect an individual's privacy, counts of 5 or less are suppressed.

Crude Rate:

  • If you want to understand the probability or what is the underlying risk in a population, then use a rate.
  • In our analysis a rate is calculated using a numerator, the number of Fall related injury hospitalizations, ED Visits, or deaths during a period of time, divided by a denominator, the number of people in a population during the same period of time. This fraction is then multiplied by 100,000 to provide a more recognizable value.
  • To protect an individual's privacy, rates based on counts of 5 or less are suppressed.

Age-adjusted rate:

  • Age-adjusted rates are useful when comparing the rates of two population groups that have different age distributions.
  • A weighted average, called the direct method, is used to adjust for age in this analysis. Age specific rates in a given population are adjusted to the age distribution in a standard population by applying a weight. The U.S. 2000 Standard population is used as the basis for weight calculations.
  • To protect an individual's privacy, rates based on counts of 5 or less are suppressed.

Age-specific rate:

  • A rate of an event (such as disease or death) measured within a particular age group. It is similar to a crude rate but is calculated within an age group (e.g. an age-specific rate of fall related injury hospitalizations in adults 35-64 years of age).
  • To protect an individual's privacy, rates based on counts of 5 or less are suppressed.

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What are the limitations of the data?

  • Multiple hospitalizations or emergency department visits by the same patient cannot be identified, and are not excluded.
  • Iowa residents discharged from hospitals in surrounding states are not included, so hospitalization and emergency department visit rates for counties in which residents are likely to receive care in a surrounding state may be underestimated. Rates for counties in which residents are likely to visit hospitals that do not submit data to the Iowa Hospital Association (e.g., Veteran's Administration, Indian Health Services hospitals, and institutionalized populations) may also be artificially low.
  • There is usually a one-year lag period before emergency department visit data are available.

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Where can I find more technical information about the data?

Contact Us to learn more about fireworks-related injury emergency department visit data, or any of the measures displayed on the Iowa Public Health Tracking Portal.

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