Increase in number of systems collecting health information data shows need for national coordination – HIQA

By Reporter - 03rd Oct 2022 | 196 views

The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has today (3 October) launched a fully revised and updated Catalogue of National Health and Social Care Data Collections in Ireland.

National data collections are crucial in providing a national overview of an identified health or social care-related issue or service in Ireland, according to the Authority. HIQA’s catalogue presents an overview of this large volume of health and social care data in one accessible location.

The catalogue comprises 128 national data collections, including 24 newly identified collections since the previous version in 2017. This includes a number of new collections that were established in response to the Covid-19 pandemic such as CoVAX, the National Covid-19 Immunisation System, and the Covid-19 Data Research Hub.

HIQA’s Health Information Manager, Dr Barbara Foley said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of high-quality data and information in order to drive improvements in public health. Access to and use of good quality information leads to safe, reliable health and social care. It is therefore essential that health information is accessible, promoted and used if we are to achieve a high-standard of healthcare in Ireland.

“The publication of this updated version of the catalogue acts as a key resource in providing information on the current health data available. It highlights the changes seen in the healthcare landscape over the past five years, with a number of new collections established since the previous version to collect and trend information around Covid-19.

“We hope it will be used by a range of stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, people using services, researchers, policy-makers, service-users and members of the general public.”

Advances in the health information landscape are taking place at both a national and European level which will impact collections of health information. Work is currently underway for the creation of an EU-wide data sharing platform known as the European Health Data Space, while the Department of Health is developing a Health Information Bill. HIQA believes these advances present an opportunity to shape and improve the health and social care information system.

Dr Foley continued: “The delivery of Ireland’s health and social care services must be underpinned by a robust approach to data collection, analysis and management. With the growing number of data collections, people should be assured that their information is being collected, used and shared in a secure way, and that the data collected is of good quality.

“As outlined in HIQA’s recently published paper on Key considerations to inform policy for the collection, use and sharing of health and social care information in Ireland, there needs to be national coordination of these existing data sources in line with international best practice.”.

The catalogue can be found as both a downloadable report and as an interactive online version on www.hiqa.ie here.

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