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Effectiveness of anonymised information sharing and use in health service, police, and local government partnership for preventing violence related injury: experimental study and time series analysis

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 16 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3313

Information Sharing to reduce community violence: culture shift and incentives are needed

Florence et al present powerful evidence that sharing emergency
department data with community safety partnerships can bring about
meaningful reductions in community violence.(1) Information sharing is a
simple intervention that is almost entirely without harm or cost. The
magnitude of the benefit is far greater than any change to the Licensing
Act has achieved.

The linked editorial acknowledges that implementation of this model of
information sharing across the UK has been poor.(2) Why is this?
Sharing data for injury prevention is a culture shift for acute hospitals.
Many hospital clinicians and managers see injury prevention as a public
health and primary care role.

There are (groundless) concerns about data protection and breeches of
confidentiality. The Data Protection Act makes specific provision for data
sharing for injury prevention.

Hospital managers are incentivised by the Payment By Results system not to
reduce activity of low acuity patients at emergency departments. There are
currently no incentives to facilitate information sharing in the NHS
operating framework.

The Department of Health and Commissioners should develop a system of
incentives that promotes information sharing between emergency departments
and community partnerships.

1. BMJ 2011 342:d3313; doi:10.1136/bmj.d3313

2. BMJ 2011; 342:d2882

Competing interests: AB sits on the Department of Health's Information Sharing Steering Group. KS works for the Department of Health to implement Information Sharing.

04 July 2011
Adrian A Boyle
Katrina Snelling
Cambridge University Foundation Hospitals Trust