Validating, quality assuring and cleansing data

High quality data flows mean better patient care and patient safety. They also play a key part in improving services through informed decision making and can be used to identify trends and patterns, draw comparisons, predict future events and outcomes, and evaluate services.

Data quality can be multifaceted and it can be complex to resolve/prevent data quality issues, data quality is a vital component of the DSfC programme and a continuing challenge for the NHS.

The DSfC programme will deal with data quality in a variety of different ways, including validation of data being an important part of the conformed datasets, core data identifiers and file metadata.

The DSfC programme will look to develop and introduce via the Data Services Platform standardised data quality checks that can be applied across different datasets and highlight where data quality is a concern. These checks will, initially, focus on:

  • the completeness
  • validity
  • timeliness
  • the use of defaults of/in data

The DSfC programme will also look to develop accuracy checks, for example by comparing patient demographic details against data held by the Personal Demographics Service, an essential check to ensure users of data are aware of any bias in the data which may impact its ability to link.

These solutions are described in further detail in the data quality guidance document.