To fully understand the performance of the health system, existing data must be used more efficiently to ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care. We work in a data rich/information poor environment where most clinicians have no feedback on their own performance, that of their clinical unit nor of the institution in which they work.
Linked data opens an opportunity for an entirely revolutionary step forward in this process. By linking existing data, enormous steps forward can be taken to improve our knowledge of the performance of the health system. This includes population and clinical data cancer registries, radiotherapy data from the public and private sectors, admitted patient data from all inpatient services, the national death index, emergency department data, screening and other disease registries (such as the registry for viral hepatitis) and, most importantly, data from the Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefit Schedules.
The vision is now to integrate these data systems with patient reported measures: experience and outcomes. Cancer Institute NSW working jointly with the Bureau of Health Information has now run two state-wide experience and outcomes surveys of both outpatients and inpatients in people with cancer. These are tremendously informative data that, when linked to the other available data, will fundamentally change how we think about providing services.
Moving to real time availability will continue to drive opportunities to improve the care we offer and the outcomes that are achieved.