I've written extensively about the growing importance of data in healthcare in the past year, and it's pleasing to see that changes are slowly beginning to emerge in the sector.
The latest of these comes from Ireland, where an open data portal has been launched by eHealth Ireland. The portal aims to bring together some 300 different open data sources into one place, making it easier to find data from across the Irish Health Sector.
The portal includes data from a range of sources, including statistics on hospital day and inpatient cases, waiting list statistics and information around key new digital initiatives.
The resource features datasets from both the Department of Health and HealthLink, so the team believe that the data is of the highest quality, and also compliant with the Open Health Data Policy. This ensures that the approach taken with the release of data is consistent and in accordance with national and international guidelines.
"I am delighted to welcome the launch of the eHealth Ireland Open Data Portal today. The aim of Open Data is twofold; on the one hand facilitating transparency of the Public Sector and on the other providing a valuable resource that can drive innovation. The availability of Open Data can empower citizens and support clinicians, care providers, and researchers make better decisions, spur new innovations and identify efficiencies while ensuring that personal data remains confidential," Richard Corbridge, CIO at the Health Service Executive says.
Data from both HealthLink and the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) will be uploaded to the portal each month, with new datasets due to be added on a regular basis.
The data itself is open, free and reusable, and the project is a key part of the Public Service Reform agenda. It is wrapped up in the Open Health Data Policy, which aims to provide a framework for the accessibility and availability of open data in the Irish health system.
The project follows a number of clearly defined Open Health Data Principles that are designed to support the health service in the provision of better patient care and in the support of new innovations in the sector, all whilst ensuring that patient data is secured and governed appropriately.