The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) is asking the public for their feedback on its Draft National Standards for Information Management in Health and Social Care.

The draft national standards aim to provide a roadmap to improve the quality of health and social care information and are of importance to all services and organisations that collect, use or share health care information.

HIQA’s Director of Health Information and Standards, Rachel Flynn, said: “An individual’s health information informs all aspects of their care. Given the interconnected nature of health and social care, information is collected across a range of services and organisations and often combined for many different reasons, such as to give a complete picture of an individual’s health or to plan and manage services for the population.

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“A system-wide approach is therefore necessary to ensure that all organisations put in place arrangements to ensure data is of high quality and treated in a confidential manner.

“This is essential to achieve the Sláintecare vision of one universal health service for all, providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time.

Ms Flynn went on to explain that good information management practices are “essential” to providing assurances on the quality of the major national repositories of data that are used to manage services, inform policy-making, conduct research, and plan for future health and social care needs.

The standards are set out under three principles to ensure that:

  • Information management takes a human rights-based approach, meaning that an organisation places an emphasis on protecting and promoting people’s rights relating to their information. This includes protecting their privacy, confidentiality, autonomy, dignity, values, preferences and diversity
  • An organisation is accountable by having the necessary governance arrangements in place to manage information appropriately in line with relevant legislation
  • Being responsive by taking a strategic and systematic approach to information governance. This includes privacy and confidentiality, data quality, data security, data accessibility, and to ensure that maximum benefit is achieved from its data and information.

Ms Flynn continued: “If organisations and services work towards meeting the draft national standards, it will contribute to the delivery of safe and reliable care for everyone.

“In practice, this means that a health or social care professional has a comprehensive and accurate record of an individual’s health and social care history to help inform urgent, current or future care.

“Good information management is necessary to manage demand for care, as accurate and timely data is necessary to effectively plan and manage services.”

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