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MEDICAL DATA

In order to avoid errors, medical data being used in healthcare need to be constantly reviewed and updated.1 The quality of the data is equally important and this can only be assured by the following:

  • The accuracy of the data as compared to a standard.
  • Precision of the data is repeatability.
  • Resolution is at a detailed level.


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Medical data on individuals are being collected, collated, stored and analysed in unprecedented amounts and put to diverse use.2 How and what exactly is collected is largely determined by national laws. These laws have been passed as a result of privacy and confidentiality issues that arise from the use of Clinical Data Management (CDM) systems and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs).

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) passed by the US government, ensures amongst other things that the past, present and future confidentiality and privacy of an individual’s health information is protected. It also calls for the standardisation of such data along with administrative and financial data.

Full implementation of the HIPAA would not only affect how all healthcare organisations, from healthcare providers through to information systems vendors, store and use health information but would also require them to adopt Standard Code Sets that must be used in all electronic health transactions.

Within the UK, the Data Protection Act 1998, which implements the European Data Protection Directive, ensures the privacy and confidentiality of individual medical data on health information systems.

Once confidentiality and privacy have been adhered to, healthcare organisations generally use the data for research, billing and reimbursement and for better provision of care and treatment through quality assurance and diagnosis and treatment analysis. In the UK, the National Health Service has adopted a CDM tool called MIQUEST (Morbidity Query Information Expert SynTax) for the retrieval and validation of data from General practice systems. It is now a requirement for General Practice systems within the UK to be MIQUEST compliant.

Organisations involved in CDM include the Society for Clinical Data Management (SCDM) and the Association for Clinical Data Management (ACDM) in the UK.

 

References

  1. Degoulet, Practice; Fieschi, Marius. Introduction to clinical Informatics, Chp 3. Springer 1999.

  2. Lagasse, R. December 2001. [WWW] European situation of the routine medical data collection and their utilisation for health monitoring. (5TH October 2003)

 

 

QUICK LINKS
International Medical Informatics Association
American Medical Informatics Association
UK Health Informatics Society
British Computer Society Health Informatics Committee
European Federation for Medical Informatics
American Nursing Informatics Association
American Telemedicine Association


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Last Updated: 9 August 2006.



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