My Department published the report “Health Care Quality Indicators in the Irish Health System: Examining the Potential of Hospital Discharge Data using the Hospital Inpatient Enquiry System” on the 17th February 2014. The purpose of the report was to assess the feasibility of using HIPE data to derive healthcare quality indicators that could in the future be used to measure the quality of care provided by our hospitals. The analysis undertaken used HIPE data from 2006 to 2010. The analysis highlighted variations in findings with a small number of hospitals being identified as outliers for certain quality indicators. There are many possible reasons for these variations including quality of data, for example coding issues and quality of care issues.
This information was communicated to the hospitals through the Quality and Patient Safety Directorate of the HSE in order for the hospitals to determine the reasons for the variation. My Department has been assured by the HSE that the hospitals have had the opportunity both to correct their data and address any quality of care issues. As already stated the primary focus of this report was to look at the feasibility of these indicators and to progress to robust indicators for the future rather than carrying out a review of historical data. Measuring the quality of healthcare in Ireland and publicly reporting how our services are performing is part of my Government's commitment to improved accountability and continued improvement in our health services. Therefore it is the intention of my Department to develop a National Healthcare Quality Reporting System which will regularly publicly report quality indicators. The first report on quality healthcare indicators derived from HIPE for the years 2011- 2013, at national, regional and identified hospital level will be published later this year.