Engaging clinicians in improving data quality in the NHS: iLab project summary

This project summary, produced in September 2006, outlines key findings and recommendations from research exploring the potential use of Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and the Patient Episode Database Wales (PEDW) to support the appraisal and revalidation of consultant physicians. In doing so, the quality of consultant-level data was investigated through a clinical coding project, along with how it might be improved.

Key recommendations

  • Hospitals should routinely share clinically relevant analyses of local activity data with consultants in order to increase their involvement in the collection, validation and use of these data.
  • If centrally submitted data are to be used to monitor the performance of individuals, substantial work is required to develop clinical information systems which can better reflect current working practices.
  • The education and trainingof undergraduate and junior medical staff needs to provide a better understanding of how health information is managed. Without an appreciation of the role it plays in providing safe and effective patient care, both at the point of care and beyond, the clinician-information divide will be perpetuated and data quality will remain poor.