Table 4

Perceived barriers to receipt of quality-of-care data for monitoring and benchmarking by health service boards

Perceived barriersQuotes from interviews
Acceptability“It's tough to find indicators that the medical staff will accept as meaningful.” (Medical director, rural)
Accuracy“There are programs which can be easily manipulated … I think it's that old thing: rubbish in, you get rubbish out. So it's really reliant—still—back at the coal face, on reporting.” (Chief executive, rural)
Affordability“There's quite a bit of criticism on how much money can be spent [on quality reports] and is it necessary.” (Chief executive, rural)
Comparability“You need to ensure that apples are compared to apples because that's one of the biggest issues that we found when benchmarking projects [were] undertaken, that it's not necessarily always comparable.” (Quality committee chair, rural)
Completeness“It comes back to those gaps in data and benchmarking … they are pretty well defined and available in the acute area, but I personally find aged care is a real vacuum. And in primary care, it's also hit and miss in terms of what data is around.” (Executive manager, rural)
Pertinence“Major investigations in the health sector still come about through whistleblowers, not data.” (Chair, metropolitan)
Simplicity“We actually had developed our own reporting system. Well, yeah, [the Department of Health] came in on top of that, and added what they called a minimum data set that had thousands of classifications and—you know—made our reporting system much more difficult.” (Risk manager, regional)
Sustainability“The patient safety indicator programme looking for outliers in key areas—like complications post-surgery—was looking really good. But it's just disappeared. Gone, I'm sure.” (Executive manager, regional)
Timeliness“We just keep hounding the Department of Health ‘til we get [benchmarking data] and it might take us six months to get the figures.” (Medical director, rural)
Validity“Measuring outcomes is technically very difficult. It has to be unbiased, it has to be systematic, and it has to be risk-adjusted.” (Quality committee chair, metropolitan)