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Written Answers - Departmental Reports

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 24.  Deputy Denis Naughten Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  the reason for the delay in publishing the report on mortality rates at acute hospitals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16210/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly The Chief Medical Officer of my Department has been working on a report entitled ‘Health Care Quality Indicators in the Irish Health System: Examining the Potential of Hospital Discharge Data’. This includes the measure of recorded 30 day in-hospital mortality rates following heart attack.

The work to date demonstrates the value of using HIPE as a tool to derive knowledge and understanding of health care quality. However, this work has also uncovered variation in the accuracy of data as reported through the HIPE system. Some individual hospitals have attributed this variation to inaccuracies in the medical chart and the subsequent coding of information that is then inputted by individual hospitals to the HIPE system.

I am concerned about this finding in relation to data quality, given its potential patient safety implications. I believe there is a duty on all hospitals to take steps to ensure that the information which they record and report is accurate.

Concerns have been raised by certain hospitals and clinicians that the report, which seeks only to examine quality of data, could be either inadvertently or deliberately misinterpreted as making inferences on quality of care. I understand this concern. However, I do not accept that the solution is to disregard these data. Where that source of information is found to be flawed, the solution is to improve it. These data have been collected by hospitals and the hospitals themselves must be accountable for the quality of them. Therefore, the CMO, in conjunction [703]with the HSE, is now in the process of further augmenting the analysis of the indicators to date with data for 2011 and 2012. Every public hospital in the country has been written to in order that they can ensure that the information they record and report for 2011 and 2012 is accurate. The Economic and Social Research Institute, who manage the HIPE system, provide checking and audit tools to enable hospitals to ensure the quality of their data.

The CMO expects to publish the ‘Health Care Quality Indicators in the Irish Health System: Examining the Potential of Hospital Discharge Data’ report in the near future.


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