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Health Data Analysis

Introduction to Health Data Analysis

The case study conducted herein is related to the data obtained during the data collection process of Eric Bishop’s case, a 42 yr old male patient with past complaints of gastroesophageal reflex, whose prognosis turned out to be a malignant tumour in his stomach that was revealed through a gastro endoscopy and biopsy of the tumour mass. The case study deals with the data collection strategy and method employed by the healthcare personnel in describing the episodes of care provided by a certain healthcare agency. The analysis of this case study that is to be conducted herein aims to identify and describe the type of data collected and its relevance in internal and external measures and understanding and justifying those methods in context to prevalent data collection practices and how can those be improved.

Type of data that collected at each episode of care that the patient has with the health agency and justification

There are six episodes of care reported in this case study, each of which deals with a specific data requirement that shall contribute to both internal and external databases:

Episode 1- The past history of the patient is recorded where the patient’s complaint is recorded by the patient’s general physician along with certain related factors. The patient complains of gastroesophageal reflux which he tried to self medicate with over the counter medicine on his pharmacist’s advice. On no further improvement, the patient consulted a local GP who prescribed an antacid and follow-up consultation with a gastroenterologist. 

This episode of care records demographical data on the occurrence of the phenomena of self-medication frequent in patients. Also, vital methodological data is recorded where the complaint is more specifically targeted with each growing step.

Episode 2- In this episode, the patient’s personal choice of registering for organ donation is recorded, which again is a demographical data that notes the factors that lead to successful registration in case of organ donation.

Episode 3- Here the assessment procedure for the possible diagnosis of the patient’s distress is described. This entails methodical data that again describes the adherence to state guidelines in quality patient care which includes overall holistic treatment of the patient, above and beyond his medical and physical needs,

Episode 4- This episode deals with the diagnosis of the patient's distress through a doctor prescribed gastro copy, which reveals the patient’s underlying condition of having developed a tumor in the stomach. A biopsy was conducted to check for malignancy. This is an individual data that assesses the patient’s condition and along with the patient’s past history, this can potentially be a demographic research data for analysis of symptomatic manifestations of a tumor.

Episode 5- This episode records a methodical data f patient briefing and doctor to doctor deliverance of patient information exchange and due procedure for treatment and surgery.

Episode 6- The final episode of care records Eric sudden onset of pain and blood vomiting which is an individual data for cancer research database and might prove insightful in dealing with patients of similar nature in future ("Victorian Cost Data Collection (VCDC)", 2020).

Data items that are collected at each point of the patient’s journey and understanding of the purposes and uses of data at the levels of the healthcare agency.

The data items collected here at each step of care is vital to both the patient’s reception of care and treatment in a healthcare agency. The methodical and procedural data shall provide a better understanding of the guidelines in place and about the efficiency they posses. The data collected at each step on an individual level further caters to the future of cancer research that may help in researching newer cancer treatments and enhancements in the way of patient care. 

Episodes 1 and 2 contain demographical data to discuss the possible factors that influence the processes that take place nationwide. Like, the usage of over the counter medicine or like registering for organ donation. 

Episode 3 to 6 constitute of individual patient data that are collected to deliver high-quality patient care which keeps in mind the patient’s present, past and future needs. This data get subsequently reported to a larger statewide or nationwide database where it is collected for future purposes as factors o consider while developing new guideline and enhancing the existing ones. The methodical and procedural data collected also demonstrates the cost required for the treatment of the disease which then collects into Victorian Cost Data Collection ( VCDC) which is an annual data submission where the State collects the patient-level cost information in respect to the deliverance of care in healthcare agencies. The demographical and individual data can be incorporated into the nationwide healthcare-related databases like the Australian Cancer Database and health sector minimum data sets of the National Minimum Datasets (NMDS), specifically for Admitted patient care NMDS.

The data collected through first-hand narration from the patient, prior diagnosis by the general physician, and in-hospital services like gastroenterologist consultation, gastro endoscopy, dietician services and further briefing and mode of treatment via elective surgery on detection of cancer provides useful organisational information for internal requirements, where the hospital management can review the quality of patient care that is being provided. The waiting time involved in getting the surgery done is a further contribution to Elective surgery waiting times NMDS. The purpose of these collected data shall be to enhance the existing information and provide the required information for forming new guidelines in delivering quality patient care and in developing datasets for research and jurisdictional purposes.

How each state/national or other collection requires data to be reported to them?

The VCDC requires cost information of the patient to determine the cost required in deliverance of patient care. It is an annual submission that is required by all health services in metropolitan, regional and sub-regional area to submit their cost data as per the Victorian Health Policy and Funding Guidelines.

The cost data is used to:

  • Meet the cost data requirements of the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA), via the National Hospital Cost Data Collection (NHCDC).
  • Perform comparative benchmarking;
  • Inform the development of budget proposals;
  • Analyze the cost of health care;
  • Inform best practice quality improvement initiatives; and
  • Enable analysis of cost data across health services;
  • Refine the existing Victorian funding models and assist in the development of future funding models ("Victorian Cost Data Collection (VCDC)", 2020);
  • Perform comparative benchmarking;


The NMDS or National Minimum Data sets are a national mandatory data collection and reporting facility where it is a contingent in the nationwide agreement in the acquirement of uniform data without precluding agencies and service providers.

For example, there are:

  • Health sector NMDSs
  • Community services sector NMDSs
  • Homelessness and housing services sector NMDSs
  • Early Childhood NMDS

The data collected here shall contribute to the Health sector NMDS, which can be further put to jurisdictional use to form policies and findings and jurisdictional actions and for academic and organizational research as well. 

Equivalent Data Collection

Following are an equivalent data collection prevalent in New South Wales:

  • Health Stats NSW is an open-access database that provides an overview of the territorial and statewide health statistics of the inhabitants of New South Wales with analyzed data information regarding prevalent diseases, potential health risk factors according to location and population. This helps in maintaining the health status of the NSW population. Provides vital information on health inequities and determinants of health along with the causality factors of diseases and injuries and health challenges, and also analyses trends island comparative data in health among the population of different age group and geographic location.
  • Cancer Statistics NSW is an open-access database that collects data through various registries and agencies throughout the state to provide comprehensive data on the cancer treatment and phenomena of the state. The database aims towards finding new treatments, better methods of care and prevention strategies that contribute to the quality of deliverance of patient care in the state. 

Duplication And/or Gaps in Data Collected And/or Reported and Proposed Strategies

The case study herein fails to note down vital lifestyle problems of the patient, which are probably contributing factors to the patient’s underlying disease. Important care details regarding [ost admission care and post-operative care are omitted. There is no mention of race or ethnicity or language data which are imperative to delivering optimum inpatient care. The case study doesn’t specify dates or timeframe of the episodes and also doesn’t describe any paramedical procedures that the patient might have gotten while coming in an ambulance to the hospital. The pre-surgery brief is not mentioned in the procedure and the waiting time for the elective surgery isn’t mentioned. The study does not report upon the non-application of other cancer treatments like radiation and chemo. Thus, the individual, demographic, methodical and procedural data have gaps in them which can cause malfunctioning databases that are formed for accurate and uniform distribution of data. Accuracy and adequacy of the information are of key importance in data collection. 

The data reported through a non-electronic medium, noted down in hand, has a high chance of error whereas the electronic mediums report high amounts of accuracy which are imperative in such data collections and by switching to an electronic medium of data collection and submission one can avoid duplication of data as well. External data review and internal audits into data collection procedures can improve the reporting of such data ("Health sector national minimum data sets", 2020). External database submission can improve and urge competent and urgent collection of data with enhanced efficiency. 

Conclusion on Health Data Analysis

Data collection is a vital tool in improving policy and guidelines in healthcare in order to provide the optimum level of healthcare while adding upon the database required carrying out academic and jurisdictional research that enhances the study in finding and funding new healthcare strategies, prevention methods and maintenance of the overall healthcare status of the population. The study here revealed the importance of the various data that are collected at the various stages of inpatient care and their possible implications and application. However, the methods are not foolproof and need improving upon to provide the ultimate level of high-quality patient care in Australia. 

References for Health Data Analysis

 Improving Data Collection across the Health Care System. Content last reviewed May 2018. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Data tools and resources - NSW Health & Medical Research. NSW Health & Medical Research. (2020). Retrieved 2 June 2020, from

Dixit, S. K., & Sambasivan, M. (2018). A review of the Australian healthcare system: A policy perspective. SAGE open medicine, 6, 2050312118769211.

Health sector national minimum data sets. (2020). Retrieved 2 June 2020, from

Sarkies, M. N., Bowles, K. A., Skinner, E. H., Mitchell, D., Haas, R., Ho, M., Salter, K., May, K., Markham, D., O'Brien, L., Plumb, S., & Haines, T. P. (2015). Data collection methods in health services research: hospital length of stay and discharge destination. Applied clinical informatics, 6(1), 96–109. 

Tew Michelle, Dalziel Kim M., Petrie Dennis J., Clarke Philip M. (2016) Growth of linked hospital data use in Australia: a systematic review. Australian Health Review41, 394-400.

Tran B, Falster MO, Girosi F, et alRelationship between use of general practice and healthcare costs at the end of life: a data linkage study in New South Wales, AustraliaBMJ Open 2016;6:e009410.

Victorian Cost Data Collection (VCDC). (2020). Retrieved 2 June 2020, from,across%20all%20hospital%20patient%20settings.

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