WASHINGTON — DC Health has launched a new data dashboard to help keep track of firearm injuries at emergency rooms across the District.
“Firearm Injury Surveillance Through Emergency Rooms” (FASTER) data is unique because it pulls from the hospital’s discharge diagnosis codes instead of mandatory physician reporting. The program is sponsored by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is meant to serve as a tool for healthcare coordinators, academic researchers, policymakers, gun violence experts and the public.
The data collection technique differs from firearm data collected by other organizations, including the Metropolitan Police Department. Among the differences, FASTER data:
- Does not differentiate between whether a shooting occurred in the D.C. or in another jurisdiction
- Does not differentiate between assaults, accidental or self-harm shootings
- Is limited to only emergency room visits
- Does not account for an individual who visits the emergency room multiple time for the same injury (each visit is logged separately)
- Only pulls data from the following emergency rooms: Washington Hospital Center, Children’s National Medical Center, United Medical Center, Howard University Hospital, Georgetown University Hospital, George Washington University Hospital, Providence Hospital (2017–2019 only) and Sibley Memorial Hospital
Data available on the FASTER dashboard includes:
- Demographic breakdowns by Ward, zip code, age and ethnicity
- Firearm injuries involving District versus non-District residents
- Monthly trends
- Incident heatmaps for day of the week and time of day
According to the dashboard, there has been 545 firearm injury visits to D.C. hospitals from January to May 2023. This is an increase of 18% from the same time last year. Of those incident, 399 were D.C. residents.
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