Press Release

4th Annual Report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System gives overview of our health service

Minister for Health, Simon Harris, today (Wednesday) welcomed the publication of the fourth annual report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System (NHQRS), which gives an overview of our health service.

Minister Harris said: “Transparency and regular reporting of information on the performance of our health service is vitally important to informing decisions that service providers, policy makers and the public make about our health service.“

“As we all work to improve the quality of our health service, this type of accurate, timely information can now be used by the HSE, hospitals and Community Healthcare Organisations to identify areas of good practice. It can also be used to examine and meaningfully address those areas where improvements can be made.”

This report provides information on 35 indicators that give an overview of how our health service is performing as compared to international health systems.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan said “I welcome this fourth annual report which is coordinated and produced through my office. It is very encouraging to see the improvements in many areas, for example antibiotic consumption in the community has decreased for the last three years running. This is important to preserve their effectiveness into the future. More than 80% of patients report good or very good experiences of their stay in hospital in 2017. Mortality rates for heart attack have decreased by 42% over the last ten years. Our cancer survival rates for breast and colorectal cancer compare favorably against other OECD countries and rates of MRSA have fallen by 66% since 2006.”

The report also highlights areas for further examination and improvement. Uptake of the influenza vaccine for those over 65 years, has decreased each year for the last four years.  Variation in hospitalisation rates between individual hospitals for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma remain. Hospitalisations rates for patients with COPD also remain very high.

Dr Kathleen Mac Lellan, Director, National Patient Safety Office, added “This report should be used by the service providers and policy makers to identify trends in healthcare quality. It is important that we use this report to highlight the areas of healthcare that are performing well. We also must review areas where we can perform better, examine possible causes and take follow up actions.  This is the quality improvement process.”

 ENDS

Notes for Editors

4th Annual Report of the National Healthcare Quality Reporting System

Background

The National Healthcare Quality Reporting System (NHQRS) is the Irish health indicator framework. An indicator is a measurement or value of an item and often used with the prefix performance, quality or health and used to provide comparable information and to track progress and performance over time. Since 2014 the NHQRS has produced an annual report that is published on the Department of Health website. In 2018 there are a total of 35 indicators of performance across five key domains:

The NHQRS aims to provide a mechanism through which data or information about the quality of Ireland’s healthcare structures, processes and outcomes can be made publicly available and compared against acceptable standards or best practice.

The NHQRS and its governance structure is led by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer and developed by the National Patient Safety Office (NPSO).

In 2016, a multi-agency committee was re-established to:

  • provide oversight and advice on the strategic direction of the NHQRS
  • to agree the selected indicators in line with international trends and health policy in Ireland; to agree definitions and metadata for the indicators
  • and to prepare and present an annual report to the Minister for Health.

Committee members facilitate communication between their own organisations in relation to the NHQRS processes and the annual report. A technical group supports the committee by providing expertise and experience in measuring and monitoring of healthcare using performance measures or indicators.

The NHQRS annual report

The publication of an annual report increases transparency in our healthcare system for the public and patient and also acts as a stimulus for improvements by health service providers through the identification of variation in practice and outcomes.

In addition to the increased transparency in our healthcare system for the public and patient it also acts as a stimulus for improvements by health service providers through the identification of variation in practice and outcomes. The appropriate response to any reported differences in indicators is for service providers to further examine and to explain the positive and negative findings. This will necessitate more in-depth analysis and evaluation and will require follow up actions as appropriate to be taken.

The information provided in this report should be reviewed and examined by those tasked with the planning and delivery of healthcare and/or the development of health policy locally, regionally and nationally. This information is important to ensure safe quality healthcare in Ireland through a process of systematic, continuous quality improvement.