AWISS was created in 1998, following the development of a fledgling Emergency Department (ED) injury surveillance system in West Glamorgan municipality in 1993, which combined data from three ED departments. AWISS was designed and implemented by public health practitioners and clinicians largely from ED backgrounds, initially as a tool to support local prevention efforts and subsequently to evaluate changes in the design and implementation of care.
Up until 2008, AWISS was solely based on ED data from major ED units across Wales. However, in April 2009, Welsh Government mandated a slimmed down, standardised ‘Emergency Department Data Set’ (EDDS). All major (24-hour, consultant led) Emergency Departments began submitting EDDS data from April 2009, with all other hospitals submitting data in a piecemeal fashion between 2009 and 2012. Since April 2012 all major and minor units have submitted data to EDDS.
An additional development which occurred around the development of EDDS, and transformed AWISS from a single source surveillance system to a multisource system was the development of the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank at Swansea University. SAIL is a large scale privacy protecting system, which links anonymised routinely collected data from the NHS and other sources in a safe and secure environment, to support health and social care research. The development of SAIL opened up opportunities to include additional data sources as part of AWISS, and AWISS now uses a number of additional data sources including inpatient admissions and outpatient data from the Patient Episode Database for Wales, data on the treatment of burns from the Welsh Centre for Burns, data from general practices (some 80% supply data to SAIL) and mortality data from the Office of National Statistics. AWISS is also exploring the addition of several new data sources including: ambulance service data, the All Wales Radiology Information System (WRIS), the Welsh Results Reports Service (WRRS), detailed data from the Trauma Audit and Research Network, and audit data from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre.