Open Knowledge Ireland Calls for Hospital Waiting List «Open Data»

*** Improve long term planning and increase effectiveness of governance.***

Monday, April 27th 2015: Open Knowledge Ireland today called on Leo Varadkar, Health Minister and Richard Corbridge, Chief Information Officer for the Health Service Executive in Ireland, to support the efforts of the Open Knowledge Community to increase the usefulness of publicly available Health Sector Data, by ensuring its publication in an open data format.

This March, over 184,000 people were waiting over six months for their first appointment with a hospital specialist – of these over 9500 were waiting more than 2 years. Waiting so long for that first specialist appointment results in poorer health outcomes, more expensive treatment and in some instance unnecessary and premature deaths.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund currently publishes its Out-Patient Waiting list and In-patient/Day Case Waiting list reports in PDF format which makes them impossible to access automatically thus limiting their usefulness.

Over the past few months Open Knowledge Ireland has scraped the data from these NTPF lists and created a dataset of easily accessible information. The datasets are available here and clearly show that the longest waiting lists are in the areas of Otolaryngology, Orthopaedics, Opthamology and General Surgery.

Open Knowledge Ireland believes that if the NTPF begins publishing datasets in an accessible way, then this can act as a catalyst to encourage other agencies to make their publicly available data open.  Adrian Corcoran (Open Knowledge Ireland), commented: ‘We would like to replicate the NTPF pilot by building a network of “projects” which each tackle a specific area of publicly available healthcare data and then ensure that these islands of data can be crosslinked for increased transparency.’

This requires a twinned approach:

  1. Track 1 – Publish publicly available Health data in an open data format (Health Minister, Leo Varadkar)
  2. Track 2 – Develop prototypes to help visualise this information, with a particular emphasis on linking across datasets (Open Knowledge, Volunteers)

Open Knowledge Ireland’s Denis Parfenov, commented: ‘In May, the government will relaunch the data portal data.gov.ie which is the ideal opportunity to include hospital waiting lists in Ireland’s open data. We’re calling on Minister Varadkar to introduce open data of hospital lists as a matter of urgency, which in itself may not directly reduce waiting lists, but it will increase transparency which can lead to prioritisation of funding to improve access to health; this is surely one of the most basic but important needs of all citizens.

– Ends

 

Project URL: http://openknowledge.ie/projects/open-hospital-waiting-list/

Note for Editor:

Open Knowledge Ireland (https://openknowledge.ie/) is part of the global Open Knowledge non-profit network. OK are people passionate about openness, and using advocacy, technology and training to unlock data to enable people to create, manage and share knowledge.

The Open Knowledge (https://okfn.org/) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2004 and dedicated to promoting open data and open content in all their forms – including government data, publicly funded research and public domain cultural content.