Dublin, September 22nd, 2022: New research from the ADAPT SFI Research Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology is aiming to address the growing need for quality health data sourcing. The benefit of good data for healthcare is far reaching, from real-time insights to disease tracking. This pioneering team has developed a highly detailed and structured framework to help examine the credibility of data sources in healthcare. The research was recently published in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), one of the most highly acclaimed and accredited journals in the category of Health Informatics.

Conducted by ADAPT researcher at Trinity College Dublin, Sepideh Hooshafza, along with Professor Gaye Stephens, an accomplished academic working in the space of data governance, integration and quality, the authors contributed to the research in partnership with other academics affiliated with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in Ireland.

While speaking about the innovativeness of the study, ADAPT’s Sepideh Hooshafza said: “Previous research focus has been mostly on assessing the quality of data within data sources and there has been little research on assessing the quality of data sources in healthcare. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to apply a systematic approach to identify aspects related to the quality of healthcare data sources which will have a positive effect for patients.”

The researchers developed an intricate framework to help examine the credibility of data sources in healthcare. The foundation of the framework is made up of eight parent themes and 22 sub themes. The parent themes are Governance, leadership, and management; Data; Trust; Context; Monitoring; Use of information; Standardisation; Learning and training. The 22 sub themes include finance, organisation, time, data management, data quality, ethics and security, to name a few. These were drawn from the review results and expert advisory group meetings as part of the research.

The experience of the COVID-19 health emergency has both shown the importance of quality health data in responding to such crises in real-time, while also accelerating the rate of adoption of health data driven technologies. Innovations such as the COVID-19 Tracker app, telemedicine, eReferrals and so on, are some strong examples of this. Additionally, health data continues to be used in upcoming digital health trends such as precision medicine, personalised healthcare and predictive medicine.

The framework proposed by this study is designed for those using data to build health solutions so that they are better able to assess and inform whether the respective data sources are fit for intended use. Additionally, it aims to allow researchers, designers, technology and health experts to make ethical, governance, security and standardisation considerations right from the early stages of creation. As technologies such as artificial intelligence-based chatbots, vaccination trackers and other health-related apps and digital solutions continue to gain widespread popularity, frameworks such as these will become increasingly important to ensure efficacy, safety and trustworthiness.