Introduction The aims of this program of research are to use linked health and law enforcement data to describe individuals presenting to emergency and inpatient healthcare services with an acute alcohol harm or problematic alcohol use; measure their health service utilisation and law enforcement engagement; and quantify morbidity, mortality, offending and incarceration.
Methods and analysis We will assemble a retrospective cohort of people presenting to emergency departments and/or admitted to hospitals between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2014 in New South Wales, Australia with a diagnosis denoting an acute alcohol harm or problematic alcohol use. We will link these data with records from other healthcare services (eg, community-based mental healthcare data, cancer registry), mortality, offending and incarceration data sets. The four overarching areas for analysis comprise: (1) describing the characteristics of the cohort at their first point of contact with emergency and inpatient hospital services in the study period with a diagnosis indicating an acute alcohol harm and/or problematic alcohol use; (2) quantifying health service utilisation and law enforcement engagement; (3) quantifying rates of mortality, morbidity, offending and incarceration; and (4) assessing predictors (eg, age, sex) of mortality, morbidity, offending and incarceration among this cohort.
Ethics and dissemination Ethics approval has been provided by the New South Wales Population and Health Services Research Ethics Committee. We will report our findings in accordance with the REporting of studies Conducted using Observational Routinely collected health Data (RECORD) statement and Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting (GATHER) where appropriate. We will publish data in tabular, aggregate forms only. We will not disclose individual results. We will disseminate project findings at scientific conferences and in peer-reviewed journals. We will aim to present findings to relevant stakeholders (eg, addiction medicine and emergency medicine specialists, policy makers) to maximise translational impact of research findings.
- data linkage
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Contributors AP and LD conceived the study idea. AP, LD, TD, NG, SL, and SAP provided input to the study design and research questions. AP, TD, VC and JL developed the statistical analysis plan. AP, VC and JL completed the first draft of the manuscript. All authors reviewed the manuscript and provided input to the final draft.
Funding This work was funded by research support funds awarded by University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney to AP. AP, SL and LD are supported by National Health and Medical Research Council research fellowships (#1109366, #1140938 and #1041472/#1135991). SL and NG are supported by UNSW Scientia Fellowships. SL and LD are supported by National Institutes of Health grant NIDA R01DA1104470. The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Health under the Drug and Alcohol Program.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval This study was approved by New South Wales Population and Health Services Research Ethics Committee in August 2016 (2016/08/650).
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
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