Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS)

Increased understanding of emergency care will improve patient outcomes and experience

Over the last few years it has become clear that we need to better understand how and why people attend Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments.

The Emergency Care Data Set (ECDS) has been designed to do just that. This new data set will be submitted from October 2017, and will provide an improved level of detail about emergency care never collated consistently before.

The new data set will be particularly important in understanding how and why people access urgent and emergency care over the winter, so we can help improve our planning to reduce pressure in the system.  The end result will be to improve patient outcomes and experience.

Why this is important

Currently the data provides a too simplistic picture of why people attend A&E and the treatment they receive. It was developed in the 1980s and since then the number of people, and their health needs, have changed.

The new, more detailed data set will:

  • Improve patient care through better and more consistent information;
  • Allow better planning of healthcare services; and
  • Improve communication between health professionals.

The better data we can capture, the more we can understand and commission services that improve care for patients and reduce pressure for staff.

The details – what is ECDS?

The ECDS has been developed over 24 months, with clinical leadership provided by the Royal College of Emergency Medicines Informatics Department, to ensure that the information collected via the ECDS is the right information to enable a greater understanding of A&E activity.

The ECDS contains 108 data items:

  • Patient demographics (gender, ethnicity, age at activity date)
  • Episode information (including arrival and conclusion dates, source of referral and attendance category type)
  • Clinical information (chief complaint, acuity, diagnosis, investigations and treatments)
  • Injury information (data/time of injury, place type, activity and mechanism)
  • Referred services and discharge information (onward referral for treatment, treatment complete, streaming, follow-up treatment and safeguarding concerns).

The ECDS Information Standard Notice (ISN) has been published by NHS Digital. For further information please contact the ECDS team or visit the Royal College of Emergency Medicine website.