Content » Vol 45, Issue 10

Original report

Reduction in health service use for whiplash injury after motor vehicle accidents in 2000–2009: Results from a defined population

Janneke Berecki-Gisolf, Alex Collie, Roderick McClure
Monash Injury Research Institute, Monash University, 3800 Melbourne, Australia. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-1206


Objective: To establish trends in whiplash-related health service use and cost in Victoria, Australia.
Design: Administrative data analysis.
Subjects: Whiplash patients claiming Transport Accident Commission (TAC) compensation for accidents dating between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2009 (n = 51,263).
Methods: Injury-related health service use during one year following the accident was determined from claim payment records. The incidence of whiplash claims in Victoria was calculated, as were inflation-adjusted health care costs.
Results: In 2000–2009, the incidence of compensable whiplash decreased from 1.56 to 1.14 per 1,000 person-years. Physiotherapy, pharmaceuticals, general practitioner, chiro-practic, radiology and osteopathy sessions were the most commonly claimed services. General practitioner, allied health and radiology services decreased, but analgesic use increased. Per person-years in the population, whiplash-related medical expenses were 71% greater for women than men. Overall, population burden decreased by 38%; the decline was most pronounced in persons aged 18–24 (54% decrease) and least pronounced in those aged ≥ 55 (23% decrease).
Conclusion: The population-based health service cost of whiplash decreased between 2000 and 2009. The overall reduction was related to a decrease in incidence and a reduction in service use per whiplash claim.

Lay Abstract


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