So it appears the NHS has not been inappropriately discharging patients at night – despite the furore created by recent press reports. The problem was inaccurate data, not little old ladies being pitched out into the freezing dark.
But it would be a foolish NHS leader who breathed a sigh of relief. The long-awaited information strategy stresses the key role of data in providing safe, responsive and efficient healthcare. Yet, here were trusts spending money on data that was inaccurate in, at least, one key respect.
One HSJ reader commented in response to this story: “information management isn’t sexy, so people refuse to engage with or properly understand it”. That is unfair to many – but generally true.
It is inaccurate data, rather than confidentiality or access issues, that will be the biggest drag on moving the NHS into the information age. Leaders must do more to ensure data they use to make decisions is not misleading.