Video User Guide – Quality Indicators

The Quality Indicators (QI) Team within ISD recently produced a video guide to help customers use our Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) dashboard. The dashboard displays information on mortality, calculated using data collected from NHS Boards across Scotland. NHS Boards use HSMR information to help improve the quality of care and treatment. The video provides a visual demonstration of the functionality of the dashboard, providing the user with clear instructions on how to use the dashboard and handy tips on some of the key features.

You can watch the video here, or view it along with other information about HSMRs on the ISD website.

Changes to our Publication release practices

If you read our blog post on our ‘Taking Care of Scottish Health Statistics’ event you will see that there was a strong message that ISD needed to change its practice of ‘bunching’ official statistics in a single release date each month.   We’ve listened to this feedback and I’d like to share with you the changes that we are going to make in response to that demand.

From January 2015, ISD is going to be publishing on any Tuesday in the month, not just the last Tuesday. As well as spreading the publications out more evenly across the year, it also means that our analysts will have more flexibility in when data can be released. So where data has become available slightly earlier than expected, publications can be brought forward; but where they see a publication requires more time to gather and quality assure the data, that release date can be put back a little. We’ve started trialling this and already we have been able to bring forward our Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios (HSMR) publication to 18 November which means this information is getting to our customers sooner.

We know you want our publications to be grouped around topic areas, so we’re planning to put similar or related topics out on the same day when we can, for example Waiting Times releases will continue to go out together.  As part of this change, Health Protection Scotland’s publications, like their Weekly Report, will move to a Tuesday so that all the statistics from NHS National Services Scotland will be released on the same day. All statistics will continue to be pre-announced on the ISD and HPS websites so that you will know in advance when the reports will be released.

The bunching process was originally introduced to help to manage publications consistently and to give an overall picture of health in Scotland; however, because the number of publications has increased over the past few years we have ended up with over 20 releases going out on one day.  Users told us that they want these to be more spread out more while retaining the quality and robustness of national data and that is what we hope to be able to achieve with these changes.

Nic Rigglesford, Statistics Support Team

Taking Care of Scottish Health Statistics

“Can we make official health statistics better?” was the question posed to attendees at our user engagement event on 17 June. Run jointly by UK Statistics Authority and ourselves here at ISD, this event was part of our Transforming Information Programme. The aim of the day was to better understand user needs to help inform improvements in quality, value, accessibility and impact of  information. The event was open to anybody with an interest in health statistics and anyone that couldn’t come along could follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #healthstats.

The major part of the day was devoted to discussion. Delegates considered and chatted their way through a range of subjects and the room was buzzing with animated discussions at every table. We found out lots about what people use data for and why time was such a critical issue for many. We heard a new term (well new to me at least) ‘statistical neighbours’ to describe localities that were demographically and geographically similar to allow more effective comparisons. We also discovered what level of detail was useful and what did and didn’t work in terms of the way in which data are released.

There was plenty learning to take away but the stand outs for me were:

  • health is broader than the health service;
  • one size definitely does not fit all;
  • speed is of the essence for some customers;
  • ‘raw’ is the way to go for those with confident in their own analytical skills;
  • an alternative to the current ISD publications process would be valued;
  • more focus on explaining what the data is saying.

Reassuringly there was a clear appreciation of, and confidence in, the statistics produced by ISD so it sounded like we are starting off from a solid base.

The Transforming Information Programme has put together a report of the day which gives lots more detail about the content and the discussion. We also have a  ‘Storify’ which tells the day in tweets, which you can find at:

The learning from this event should be of huge benefit to the Transforming Information Programme. It will inform what we do with the data we holds, consider how we can improve the way data are analysed and presented and released to better inform our customers.

Joyce Dalgleish

Communications Manager