To develop syndromic surveillance definitions for unintentional fall- and hip fracture–related emergency department (ED) visits among older adults (aged ≥65 years) for use in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) data and compare the percentage of ED visits captured using these new syndromes with ED visits from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (HCUP-NEDS), a nationally representative administrative data set.
Syndromic definitions were developed using chief complaint terms and discharge diagnosis codes in NSSP data. The percentages of ED visits among older adults related to falls and hip fractures in NSSP were compared with the percentages in HCUP-NEDS in 2017 and 2018.
Prevalence ratios were calculated as the relative difference in the percentage of ED visits related to falls or hip fractures in NSSP compared with HCUP-NEDS. Counts and percentages calculated using HCUP-NEDS were weighted to produce nationally representative estimates. Data were analyzed overall and by sex and age group.
The percentage of ED visits among older adults related to falls in NSSP was 12% less in 2017 (10.81%) and 7% less in 2018 (11.42%) compared with HCUP-NEDS (2017: 12.30%; 2018: 12.26%). The percentage of ED visits among older adults related to hip fractures in NSSP was 41% less in 2017 (0.65%) and 30% less in 2018 (0.76%) compared with HCUP-NEDS (2017: 1.10%; 2018: 1.09%). In both 2017 and 2018, a higher percentage of ED visits among older women and adults aged 85 years or older were related to falls or hip fractures compared with older men and younger age groups across both data sets.
A smaller percentage of older adults’ ED visits met the falls and hip fracture definitions in NSSP compared with HCUP-NEDS in 2017 and 2018. However, demographic trends remained similar across both data sets.