A systematic review of the cost of data collection for performance monitoring in hospitals.
Background: Key performance indicators (KPIs) are used to identify where organisational performance is meeting desired standards and where performance requires improvement. Valid and reliable KPIs depend on the availability of high-quality data, specifically the relevant minimum data set ((MDS) the core data identified as the minimum required to measure performance for a KPI) elements. However, the feasibility of collecting the relevant MDS elements is always a limitation of performance monitoring using KPIs. Preferably, data should be integrated into service delivery, and, where additional data are required that are not currently collected as part of routine service delivery, there should be an economic evaluation to determine the cost of data collection. The aim of this systematic review was to synthesise the evidence base concerning the costs of data collection in hospitals for performance monitoring using KPI, and to identify hospital data collection systems that have proven to be cost minimising.
Methods: We searched MEDLINE (1946 to May week 4 2014), Embase (1974 to May week 2 2014), and CINAHL (1937 to date). The database searches were supplemented by searching for grey literature through the OpenGrey database. Data was extracted, tabulated, and summarised as part of a narrative synthesis.
Results: The searches yielded a total of 1,135 publications. After assessing each identified study against specific inclusion exclusion criteria only eight studies were deemed as relevant for this review. The studies attempt to evaluate different types of data collection interventions including the installation of information communication technology (ICT), improvements to current ICT systems, and how different analysis techniques may be used to monitor performance. The evaluation methods used to measure the costs and benefits of data collection interventions are inconsistent across the identified literature. Overall, the results weakly indicate that collection of hospital data and improvements in data recording can be cost-saving.
Conclusions: Given the limitations of this systematic review, it is difficult to conclude whether improvements in data collection systems can save money, increase quality of care, and assist performance monitoring of hospitals. With that said, the results are positive and suggest that data collection improvements may lead to cost savings and aid quality of care.