National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS)

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) is a statistically valid, injury surveillance system operated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). NEISS monitors injuries treated in selected emergency departments nationally. Ninety-three representative hospitals across the country contribute data to NEISS.

The primary purpose of NEISS has been to provide timely data on consumer product-related injuries occurring in the United States. In the year 2000, CPSC initiated an expansion of the system to collect data on all injuries, including those not related to consumer products. With the expansion, NEISS became an even more important public health research tool. The number, types and severity of injuries treated in hospital emergency departments nationwide can be projected.
Information gathered from NEISS provides evidence for:

  • Product recalls
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Product safety standards

How Are Data Collected?

The data collection process begins when a patient enters the emergency department for treatment of an injury. The emergency department staff obtain critical information about the injury and enter that information in the patient’s electronic medical record. Patient records are then reviewed for data relating to NEISS criteria. The injury information is transcribed in coded form and electronically sent to CPSC. For some incidents identified at the NEISS surveillance level, follow back studies are conducted through telephone interviews with the patient or the patient’s family. Study reports provide information about the likely causes of the incident. This information is used to classify incidents by hazard pattern, provide insight into the types of action needed to reduce or eliminate the hazards, identify defective products and evaluate the effectiveness of safety standards.

Importance of Injury Surveillance

Injuries are the leading cause of death and disability to persons age 1 to 44 years in Ohio and across the United States. Injury surveillance, or the systematic collection of injury data, is an important component of injury prevention. Surveillance efforts have demonstrated that most injuries follow predictable patterns, and are therefore preventable. Injury surveillance has enabled researchers, legislators, educators and advocates to understand what type, where, when and to whom injuries occur in order to target prevention interventions appropriately and evaluate their effectiveness.

Because of the critical role that surveillance plays in prevention, it is important for hospital staff and health care providers to carefully document the circumstances surrounding an injury and its treatment. It is also important for parents to understand why questions may be asked of them. The more that is known about injuries, the better injuries can be prevented.

NEISS at Nationwide Children's

Nationwide Children’s is among a network of 96 hospitals and one of 8 pediatric hospitals across the country contributing consumer product-related injury data to NEISS. Nationwide Children’s is also one of 61 hospitals providing data for all other injuries treated in the emergency department. The NEISS program at Nationwide Children’s falls under the direction of the Center for Injury Research and Policy of The Research Institute. The Nationwide Children’s emergency department is one of the busiest in the United States. More than 100,000 children are treated annually. Over 25,000 injury cases are reported to NEISS in a calendar year.