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Data quality

Our role in data quality

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 states that the HSCIC's statutory data quality role is to assess the extent to which the data it collects meets applicable published standards and to publish the results of the assessments. In addition, the HSCIC may give advice or guidance on data quality relating to the collection, analysis, publication or other dissemination of data and information.

Our pdf icon Data Quality Assurance Strategy 2015-2020 [47kb] sets out how we will fulfil these responsibilities.

Data quality reports

The HSCIC released the third annual report on the quality of nationally submitted health and social care data on 30th October 2014.The report focuses on how the HSCIC assesses and reports on the quality of the data it receives.

The intended audience for the report consists of health and social care service users providers and commissioners; service regulators; data processors; and data users.

The report continues to emphasise the importance of good quality data to health and social care and includes:

  • Progress the HSCIC has made against the planned data quality activities and capabilities published in the 2013 report
  • Methodologies used to assess the quality of data received for some key data assets and the results of those data quality assessments where available
  • Two case studies from external organisations that show how important improving data quality can be to different types of stakeholders.

Health and social care organisations should review the report and use it with other tools and guidance to improve the quality of their data to the standards recommended in Mr Robert Francis QC's report on the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the Information Governance Review, To Share or Not to Share.

Health and social care data providers and users in particular are asked to look at the assessment methodologies and reports in detail and provide feedback to the HSCIC on their future development requirements in these areas. This will ensure that their requirements are better understood and that appropriate action is taken to meet them.

For further information on the data quality assurance work of the HSCIC please contact with subject: Corporate Data Quality Assurance Team.

Examples of current HSCIC data quality work

Secondary Uses Service

The Secondary Uses Service (SUS) Data Quality Dashboards (DQDs) are data quality reports on SUS data. They assess aspects of data quality for a number of key data items in commissioning data sets (CDS) that cover acute NHS activity in NHS trusts and independent sector providers.

Hospital Episode Statistics

At pre-arranged dates during the year, the SUS team takes an extract from their database and sends it to the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) team. The HES team validate and clean the extract, before deriving new items and making the data available for use. Read more about HES data quality work.

Mental Health Minimum Data Set

The Mental Health team assess aspects of data quality for a number of key data items in the Mental Health Minimum Data Set (MHMDS) and publish reports showing the results of the assessment. Read an example report.

Electronic Staff Record

The Workforce Validation Engine (WOVEN) carries out monthly assessments of the quality of data in the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) and publishes reports showing the results. Reports are sent to individual organisations, giving them the opportunity to correct their data at source. Reports are also published showing national rankings for data quality scores against an agreed list of criteria.

To view the data quality reports which accompany our publications, visit our catalogue.

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