Incorporating the AIHW National Injury Surveillance Unit
NDS-IS - Background [Previous] [Next] [Up] [Top]


An NDS-IS Advisory Group was convened by NISU and met in December 1994. The Advisory Group comprised people who had been involved in development of the NMDS (Injury Surveillance), version 1.1, and others interested in the further development of injury surveillance. The groups represented at the meeting were the Monash University Accident Research Centre, Tasmanian Injury Surveillance and Prevention Project, the Queensland Injury Surveillance and Prevention Program, Farmsafe Australia and NISU. Others attending the meeting were Ms Judith Jones of ChildSafe, NSW; Dr P. Cameron, Director of Emergency Medicine at Geelong Hospital; Dr R. Pitt, Director of Ambulatory Services at Mater Children's Hospital; Dr Diane Jolly, Center for Child and Youth Health Studies; and Dr Ron Somers, South Australian Health Commission Injury Prevention Program.

The following principles have guided development of the NDS-IS. It should:

  • Provide information seen as being of central importance by injury prevention practitioners;
  • Be sufficiently small and simple to use (at least in its simplest form; it is hierarchical) to enable its incorporation as part of the routine operation of important types of data collection site (hospital emergency departments; possibly also hospital inpatient services, coroners' offices, etc);
  • Have good compatibility with the International Classification of Diseases and with other widely-used data standards; and
  • Be capable of providing reliable and valid data.
The main outcome of the meeting in December 1994 was a recommendation to extend the existing single-level surveillance data standard (the National Minimum Data Set for Injury Surveillance, NMDS-IS) into the three levels of surveillance outlined in the introduction and in Table 2.1. The extensions beyond NDS-IS Level 1, particularly for Level 2 surveillance, were designed to provide more complete information than the basic NMDS-IS version 1.1 and were of two types: extended classifications and additional data items. The data items that were proposed for extended classification at the second level were 'Type of Place', 'Type of Activity', and 'Occupation'. Data items proposed for inclusion in Level 2, and which are not part of Level 1, are injury 'Factors' (limited to about 100 categories), 'Use of protective device, clothing or equipment', 'Industry', 'Date and time of injury', and an item or items to be along the lines of the NISPP breakdown and mechanism items, but limited to a small number of distinctive categories. The data item 'Consent for followup' was discussed at length, without reaching consensus.

A third level for the injury surveillance standard was envisaged. It would extend NDS-IS Level 2 to meet special purposes. Such purposes might be to undertake surveillance of a particular type of injury (eg. farm injury, or burns), or as the basis for a research project into a specific question. It was recognised that Level 3 would not be fully developed in this edition of the NDS-IS.

Version 2.1 of NDS-IS has minor corrections and coding changes. Refer to the revision history table for a summary of changes.

Several groups active in injury surveillance and prevention in Australia are collaborating with NISU and with directors of emergency departments and software developers, to incorporate the new data standard for injury surveillance into computerised data collection systems. These systems are being designed to meet the needs of hospital emergency departments for case management data systems.

The data items and classifications comprising NDS-IS have been published in the National Health Data Dictionary versions 5 and 6.
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