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Troubling data issues haunt healthcare

Rachel Wheeler Archive
Information is power in healthcare. With proper data sets, doctors can get ahead of problems and work to find solutions. One such problem relates to blood-borne pathogens. According to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, however, data collection about the unsafe injection procedures that help the pathogens spread has been inadequate, hampering efforts.

The GAO report stated that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were, from 2009 through 2011, responsible for overseeing injection safety. The CMS, in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control, plans to launch an injection procedure study. Data gathering, however, has ceased.

The GAO reported that the lack of new data coming in means it will be impossible to continue to examine the link between injections and the spread of pathogens. A lack of information or other data quality problems could have serious consequences in the high-stakes world of medical research.

Information Age reported that the U.K.'s National Health Service recently released its own report on general practices that can lead to poor data quality in healthcare. According to the source, the organization cited lack of standards, poor training and poor systems integration as frequent culprits.