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Status of the health information system in Ireland and its fitness to support health system performance assessment: a multimethod assessment based on stakeholder involvement.

Ivanković, D., Jansen, T., Barbazza, E., Brito Fernandes, Ó., Klazinga, N., Kringos, D. Status of the health information system in Ireland and its fitness to support health system performance assessment: a multimethod assessment based on stakeholder involvement. Health Research Policy and Systems: 2023, 21(1), 1
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Background
Between 2019 and 2021, the first Irish health system performance assessment (HSPA) framework was developed. As routinely collected health data are necessary to continuously populate indicators of an HSPA framework, a purpose-driven assessment of the health information system (HIS) in Ireland and its fitness to support the implementation of an HSPA framework was conducted. This study reports on the status of the Irish HIS through a multimethod assessment based on continuous broad stakeholder involvement.

Methods
Between May and November 2020, over 50 informants were engaged in individual and group interviews and stakeholder consultation workshops as part of the HIS assessment process. Descriptive themes and high-level data availability heatmaps were derived from interview and workshop data using thematic analysis. Indicator "passports" for the HSPA framework were populated during stakeholder consultation workshops and analysed using univariate descriptive statistics.

Results
The HIS in Ireland was able to provide administrative, survey and registry-based data for public sector acute care services, focusing on structure, process and output metrics. Significant data availability gaps, most notably from primary care, private hospitals and community care, were reported, with little availability of electronic health record and people-reported data. Data on outcome metrics were mostly missing, as were linkage possibilities across datasets for care pathway monitoring. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the national HIS's shortcomings but also the capacity for rapid development and improvement.

Conclusions
A tailor-made assessment of the HIS in Ireland, involving a broad set of relevant stakeholders, revealed strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement in the Irish health data landscape. It also contributed to the development of a national HSPA framework and momentum to further strengthen data infrastructure and governance, while working towards a more data-driven and person-centred healthcare system. This work demonstrates the utility of an inclusive HIS assessment process and is applicable beyond Ireland, where this case study was conducted.