Collecting and linking data the right way

Aug 18
Author:Ash Natesh
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“Australia currently has no system for identifying and addressing provision of inappropriate care in hospitals”- Stephen Duckett

Data should be collected not just for storage, but to be used by policy makers. The patterns, trends and insights generated should be used to improve service delivery. Stephen Duckett along with his colleagues created the My Health Record, it is used as a platform for providing clinically-proven advice to patients rather than just a method for collecting data for clinicians.

Traditionally, Health care organisations housed their financial and clinical data in separate systems. The previous systems were designed this way because financial data was only needed by those teams that were tasked with finance related functions. Clinical Data on the other hand was housed in separate systems  that would help the clinical teams to focus specifically on readmission, hospital acquired conditions and core measures for clinical processes. But the integration of the two data sets was not a necessity till recently.

Stephen Duckett focuses mainly on how data is collected in the clinical systems with the My Health Record. Duckett says, “Lots of information is collected about hospital safety in Australia, but not all of it is shared with the right people”

Using our data to make hospitals safer

Stephen Duckett mentioned, Australia’s hospital will be safer if we make data about hospital safety as useful as possible. The people responsible for the quality of care in the hospitals need to be aware of what is going on.

Statistics show that 70% of board members in a Victorian Survey reported that the quality of care in their hospitals was above average. None thought they were below average and only 3% did not know the status of the quality of care.

At present, a veil of secrecy hangs over which hospitals and clinicians have higher rates of patient complications, and which are safety leaders. Hospital safety statistics are collected, but they are kept secret, not just from patients but from doctors and hospitals.

“Because the analysis is conducted on government data, the research is almost always policy-relevant.  Secondary analysis leverages investments that have already been made in data collection and so is generally a less expensive form of research. Secondary analysis of Australian data sets has addressed a range of issues including quality and efficiency of, and access to, health care.shows that a patient’s risk of developing a complication varies dramatically depending on which hospital they go to: in some cases, the additional risk at the worst-performing hospitals can be four times higher than at the best performers.” – Stephen Duckett

According to Duckett and his colleagues, Australia does not have a system in place for identifying and addressing provision of inappropriate care in hospitals.

Data sets need to be linked routinely

Use of all datasets from different departments often provides the best understanding of patient outcomes and where there are opportunities for improvement. Linking routine data, registry data, patient-reported experience and outcome measures can promote comprehensive information about the outcomes of patients with particular conditions. Because most data is not linked in Australia it is difficult for  researchers and government departments to monitor trends or assess response for to a clinical practice or policy change.

Don’t miss out on the Hospital Efficiency Masterclass with Dr Stephen Duckett on the 22nd of October 2018.


Submitted by Ash Natesh

Ash Natesh

Ash is the Content Marketer at Criterion Conferences. Writing and sourcing content is all part of her day to day routine. She can’t stop drinking coffee, other than coffee her interests lie in Music, long walks amidst the mountains, Dance, Anime, Science Fiction and all things nerdy!

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