NSW Health Data and Information Quality Improvement Program Stage 1 & 2


NSW Health

The Problem

NSW Health had a new technical requirement to migrate to a new activity-based funding (ABF) model. Data quality issues were raised at all levels across departments. In particular, in-patient, out-patient and elective surgery data readiness for ABF would be the central focus. An urgent requirement to immediately address data quality issues across the organisation and policy level was identified.

The Challenge

Multiple data issues were identified associated with activity-based funding (ABF) model. Data analytics solutions applied across multiple sources would be required to identify known/unknown gaps between current data management and ABF future requirements. We were required to deliver an ongoing data management improvement road map for NSW Health that could scale across other operating environments. NSW Health requires a deep understanding on how its current data collection and management processes impact the level of data quality, potentially resulting in inaccuracy of ABF reporting. Project scope included investigation information quality issues across NSW Health’s emergency department (ED), hospital in-patient, out-patient and waiting lists data, and enable solutions for enhanced data quality in health data.

Our Approach

The project adopted a process-oriented approach to better understand how data quality issues emerged through the data collection and reporting processes. Based on interviews and field observations, a business process flow was created to illustrate each stage of the data management phases which may lead to potential data quality errors. For each stage of the data management phase, potential data quality errors were listed against data quality dimensions, categorised by Tech-
nical, Organisation, People.

For example, Technical: data quality dimensions such as timeliness and accuracy could be impacted by the delay of data extraction process from the source systems to the data warehouse or data corruption during extraction. Based on this methodology, the project performed a complete assessment including the statistical data profiling. Root caus-
es of poor data quality were subsequently identified. Outcomes were carefully documented and reproduced into an enterprise wide training manual, used exclusively for NSW Health in house training. The process map was adopted by NSW Health as policy document (PD2016_030) for ongoing data quality improvement strategy to support a better practice approach to ensuring the quality of data across NSW Health Local Health Districts and their hospitals/services, Speciality Health Networks and the NSW Ministry of Health.

The Solution

  • Understanding data readiness for activity-based funding.
  • Identifying root causes of poor data quality for improvement.
  • Data analytics solution outcome has been adapted into enterprise wide training workshops for NSW Health Local Health Districts, Speciality Health Networks and the NSW Ministry of Health.
  • Overall findings have made significantly contribution to ongoing NSW Health information quality improvement program.
  • Providing policy directives for ongoing operation.