Jan 29, 2015
Certified for Surveillance

By Kyle Garratt

As the Datalys Center for Injury Research and Prevention continues to prepare to take over day-to-day operations of the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program, it has certified the first commercial vendor for injury data transmission–the first step in the transition, especially for athletic trainers who already use Electronic Medical Records (EMR).
NExTT Solutions Injury Management Software became Export Engine certified in March, making it the only injury management software athletic trainers can use to transmit their information to the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program. “For athletic departments using commercial EMRs, 98 percent of the information we need from a surveillance perspective is already in the EMR,” says Datalys Center President Troy Hege. “So we just need an export of the information out of the EMR and we can deposit it in our database and use it for our research and surveillance efforts.

“In order to do that we have to define a data standard that allows the commercial vendors to understand what information needs to be sent to us, and how it needs to be sent and secured,” continues Hege. “That’s what our Export Engine program is. It’s a data standard that’s publicly available to vendors and it’s their option to decide to participate or not.”

Athletic trainers wishing to participate in the Injury Surveillance Program through a commercial software program are limited to NExTT Solutions software until other vendors become Export Engine certified. One other vendor is in the middle of the certification process. “The long-term vision is that all the vendors that operate in the marketplace of providing EMRs and medical records services to the athletic training community will ultimately work with us and be able to participate in the (NCAA Injury Surveillance) program,” says Hege.

Not lost in the transition process are the many athletic programs that track injuries the old fashion way. “A number of schools are basically paper-based, and take physical notes as they are treating an athlete,” says Hege. “We still want to be able to work with those schools as a source of information for the Injury Surveillance Program to get as rich a data set as possible and have the greatest impact on athlete health and safety.

“For those schools, we created a Web-based incident report,” he continues . “When an athletic trainer is evaluating an athlete they can document that injury in our Injury Surveillance Tool. It gives athletic trainers an entry point that helps them organize their records for tracking the treatments and injuries of their athletes, while at the same time providing the Datalys Center access to this information.”

A version of the online injury surveillance tool was tested for several months by approximately 50 schools. The Datalys Center is tweaking the tool based on those schools’ feedback and re-releasing it in the coming weeks. Another challenge to the transition is letting athletic trainers know what their options are. The Datalys Center is trying to educate athletic trainers about the NExTT software and the Injury Surveillance Tool.

“By and large, the response of the athletic trainers who participated in our information sessions at the NATA annual convention was very positive,” says Hege. “But the number of people we were able to communicate with was very small relative to the national collegiate athletic training community.

“From a macro level, we believe most athletic trainers are supportive of our efforts to promote and improve athlete health and safety,” continues Hege. “From a micro level, there have been rule changes that were supported by the injury surveillance data that have positively and directly affected athletic trainers, like the acclimation period that is now required at the start of preseason football. Whether you have an EMR system, are in the market for an EMR system, or manage your injury and treatment records using paper and pencil, it is now easier than ever to participate in the NCAA’s Injury Surveillance Program.”

Kyle Garratt is an Assistant Editor at Training & Conditioning. He can be reached at [email protected]

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