Case study: using administrative data to better understand deaths and near misses

March 2024   |   Info Sheets

The Social Wellbeing Agency (SWA) has developed a new method in the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) to generate insights into rare events resulting in death. 

  • Deaths resulting from rare events are hard to analyse, particularly in a small country like New Zealand as these events often occur in very low numbers each year. While analysing the causes of deaths from rare events is important, given the small numbers it can be difficult to identify patterns to determine where to best focus prevention efforts. Analysing ‘near miss’ incidents where people survived alongside those that resulted in death can tell us more about the total size of the problem and better inform prevention activities.
  • Using the IDI, we developed a method to look at a broad range of data that identifies incidents resulting in death and those linked to similar incidents that resulted in hospitalisation or some other interaction with the health system. 
  • We calculated combined rates for all drowning events (fatal and non-fatal) for the 10-year period between 2009 and 2018 to ensure adequate numbers for investigation of differences by age, sex, ethnicity, location, and socioeconomic factors (income and educational attainment).

These A3s present our findings, focusing on total (fatal and non-fatal) drowning rates, and rates of survival (non-fatal drowning) by age, sex, ethnicity and local authority. This summary of findings is intended to prompt further questions and inform further analysis, rather than present the full picture of water-related harm in Aotearoa.