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Data quality concerns stall mental health tax in UK

Rachel Wheeler Archive
The Information Centre for health and social care in the United Kingdom recently released a report on the quality of nationally submitted health and social care data, which prompted concerns about accuracy. As a result of the findings, the Department of Health has delayed plans to start a tax for Payment by Results, according to EHI EHealth insider.

Some of the study's key findings include data quality issues in which patients' information was recorded more than once, non-mandatory fields were not consistently filled out and nearly 20 percent of height and weight measurements were rounded up.

"This is a wake-up call for mental health trusts and the risks of payment by results. If we have a significant number of inpatients in the wrong clusters, trusts will not be reimbursed at the correct levels," Emma Stanton, a psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust told HSJ. "Gathering data in mental health needs to be taken seriously."

Following the publication of the report, the Information Centre attributed the inaccuracies to poor training regarding data quality and a lack of understanding about the data is used for and how errors can impact patient care. The report recommends data quality issues be addressed on a local and national level to create more consistent records.