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Assessment and perceptions of intensive care data quality, reporting and use: a survey of ICU directors

Intensive Care Co-ordination and Monitoring Unit, New South Wales, Australia


It is becoming increasingly common for government bodies, healthcare providers, funders and consumers to seek measures of the quality of critical care. It is important to ensure the quality of intensive care unit (ICU) data is high so these stakeholders can confidently use quality of care measures in decision-making. This paper aims to evaluate the quality of data collected for and submitted to the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society Adult Patient Database, and to investigate the perceptions of NSW ICU directors in relation to ICU data quality, reporting and usage. A survey tool was developed based on an existing framework that consisted of procedures for assessing data quality in medical registries. The survey was distributed to the directors of all NSW ICUs that submitted data in the 2007/2008 financial year. Overall, completeness of the data and its quality was perceived to be good. Participants were less likely to engage in activities involving the detection and correction of data errors, feedback of data or use of data for local purposes. A number of barriers and enablers to good quality ICU data as well as strategies to improve data quality were identified. Inadequate staff, training and resources for data collection were widespread concerns. NSW ICU directors believe more work is required to achieve high quality data and appropriate use of the data collected. Strategies targeting increased resources including updated technology and improved staffing and training, as well as low-cost solutions such as audit, feedback and clinician engagement, have been highlighted.

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