UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The economic burden of injuries in British Columbia: Applying evidence to practice Rajabali, Fahra; Beaulieu, Emilie; Smith, Jennifer; Pike, Ian


Background: Approximately 2000 deaths and 8000 cases of permanent disability result from injury every year in BC. Quantifying the economic and societal burden of injury can provide physicians and policymakers with comprehensive data to support the development and implementation of broader injury prevention initiatives. Methods: Disability-adjusted life years and total costs were calculated using an incidence costing, human capital, societal perspective approach. Data were collected and analyzed for the four leading causes of injury: falls, transport incidents, unintentional poisoning, and selfharm. The Burden Calculator and Electronic Resource Allocation Tool were used to establish direct and indirect costs of injury using data from a number of sources, including hospitals and emergency rooms. Results: Unintentional poisoning and self-harm resulted in the highest number of years of life lost and gross cost, while falls and transport incidents resulted in the greatest number of years lived with disability. In 2013 the gross cost for the leading causes of injury ranged from $547 million to $922 million. The total cost of injury increased between 2004 and 2013. Conclusions: Health professionals are ideally positioned to support injury prevention initiatives and provide appropriate patient counseling. Physicians and policymakers can help combat rising injury rates and related costs by applying evidence from the study of injuries in BC. Increased effort should be made to prevent injuries caused by falls, transport incidents, unintentional poisoning, and self-harm.

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