Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Surveillance Project

Staff members at the Utah Department of Health have been conducting traumatic brain injury (TBI) surveillance as part of a CDC-funded TBI Surveillance Project since the late 1990s.

The objective of the surveillance is to determine when, where, why and how Utahns are sustaining these devastating injuries. The goal is to use this information to develop primary prevention strategies (using seat belts, wearing helmets, etc.) and to impact secondary prevention efforts to lessening the severity of health problems related to brain and spinal cord injury.

Utah hospitals are required by law to submit discharge data to the Utah Department of Health. The data are compiled and analyzed by surveillance specialists who review the medical record of a sample of patients identified with a TBI. Other sources of information include rehabilitation center records, police and traffic reports, death certificates, and medical examiner reports. Staff abstract these records and complete a form for each patient. The form provides demographics, diagnoses, cause of injury, injury locale, and other variables related to the nature of the injury. The data is sent to the CDC to assist with the development of national data, and is also used for local injury prevention programs.