Recommendation 269

Local auditing of data

Accepted
The only practical way of ensuring reasonable accuracy is vigilant auditing at local level of the data put into the system. This is important work, which must be continued and where possible improved.

It is the role of local providers to ensure that the accuracy of the data it generates and submits into the system.  As such, existing requirements for local audit of clinical records and the external audit of clinical coding data quality are important and will continue.

However, the Health and Social Care Information Centre also has an important role to play regarding the assurance of the quality of the data it receives. It will assess the extent to which the information it collects meets the information standards and publish its findings routinely, when it publishes data or statistics.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre published the first national data quality report, the Quality of Nationally Submitted Health and Social Care Data in England – 2012which highlighted a number of consistent areas which lead to poor quality data including:

  • lack of standards and guidance
  • poor training and awareness of the impact of poor quality data
  • local system updates and changes
  • reorganisation and reconfiguration of services, and
  • knowledge and use of the data and its quality

The Health and Social Care Information Centre has published its second annual report, The Quality of Nationally Submitted Health and Social Care Data which built on these areas.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre is also developing a  national data quality assurance framework that will outline data quality standards and compliance with these standards.  The Health and Social Care Information Centre will publish these assessments in order to incentivise improvement in the quality of data.  In 2012/13 the Health and Social Care Information Centre will develop the assurance framework by, for example:

  • defining, developing and expanding measures for assessing data quality to provide more comprehensive assessments in future years
  • reviewing and developing collection and reporting systems and providing consistent and visible outputs on the quality of data, and
  • publishing data quality assessments on a more frequent basis in the year

The Health and Social Care Information Centre also produce a range of data quality reports and dashboards to help local providers improve the quality of the data they return.  These include, for example, in relation to the secondary uses service, hospital episode statistics and the mental health minimum data set.

Update

The next update to the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s National Data Quality Assurance Framework is expected to go live shortly. It uses one web page to give a single point of access to all the Health and Social Care Information Centre data quality information. It will include links to data quality metadata for data assets recorded in the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s information register. It will also give access to the data quality results output from the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s data quality assessment processes for each data provider expected to submit mandatory data collections.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre published its third national report on data quality on 30 October 2014.