Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Hospital episode statistics

Clinicians and trusts have a role in data quality

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 24 April 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2926
  1. Andy Spencer, national clinical lead for hospital specialties
  1. 1Health and Social Care Information Centre, Leeds LS1 6AE, UK
  1. andy.spencer{at}

One of the problems highlighted by Brennan and colleagues relates to the fact that most data submitted by trusts into secondary user services for hospital episode statistics (HES) have never been seen by the clinicians responsible for the patients.1 This is particularly a problem for clinical data. Consequently, when clinicians review these data and see problems with them they lose interest in HES as a source of valuable clinical data.

Engaging clinicians with HES is the subject of a joint initiative between the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC), and a discussion paper describing the problems and some suggested solutions has been published.2 In particular, trusts need to provide clinicians with regular access to their data, with an interface that is easy to use and has perceived value to clinicians. Tools such as this, which will support appraisal and revalidation along with improvements to patient care, will also lead to improvements in data quality. The HSCIC is planning several improvements to secondary user services and HES after the AOMRC publication, but strong clinical support will be needed for real improvement to be realised.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2926


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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