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HIQA publishes standards on information management

23 Jan 2017

HIQA has published new information management standards for national health and social care data collections that, when implemented, will according to the Authority improve the quality of national health information and data, contributing to the delivery of safe and reliable healthcare.

The 10 new standards, which focus on information governance and the management of national health and social care data collections in Ireland, will apply to all health and social care data collections established and maintained on a national basis.

Director of Health Information at HIQA Rachel Flynn commented: “Accurate, relevant and timely data is essential in order to improve health and social care, inform decision-making and plan for future health and social care needs, both at national and local levels.

“Compliance with these standards will help to instil confidence in patients, clinicians and all other stakeholders that healthcare decisions are made based on high-quality information, the availability of which will ultimately improve patient safety,” she added.

National health and social care data collections are repositories of routinely collected health and social care data and play a crucial role by providing a national overview of a particular health or social care service. Examples include the National Cancer Registry of Ireland, immunisation uptake statistics, and the Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting system. These collections enable the assessment of key indicators such as influenza vaccine uptake, breast cancer screening rates and information in relation to hospital-acquired infections, such as MRSA.

HIQA will now develop a structured programme of assessing compliance with the new standards, and information sessions will be held on the move. HIQA also plans to initiate a review programme during 2017, which will commence with the distribution of a ‘self-assessment tool’ to all national health and social care data collections within its remit.

In Ireland, as in many other countries, national health and social care data collections have evolved over time in a largely uncoordinated fashion, the report notes. Although there are examples of good practice, this lack of coordination has led to a “fragmented health information infrastructure”.

In terms of completeness, HIQA identified a number of deficiencies — for example, there was limited data available from the primary and community care sectors, from outpatients, or from hospital emergency departments.

june.shannon@imt.ie

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