A view from the front line, an interview with a Data Collector

Sue Vaughan is the Audit Clerk at the Hinchingbrooke Hospital, in Cambridgeshire, and one of this year’s Validation Superstars. The ICU is a nine-bed unit, which Sue tells me is cosy but maybe a bit antiquated!

Sue has been working on ICNARC data for 11 years, balancing this role with a multitude of other jobs to keep the unit running smoothly. I spoke to her about her experiences collecting ICNARC data, and how she keeps on top of all the different aspects of the dataset.

How do you structure your time so that you can submit data promptly?

It’s the first thing I do when I come into work. I update new patients while they are still on the unit. I also give colleagues a gentle reminder for height, weight, urine and lactate as these are the most common missing data.

Do you use pre-validation checks at all?

We use Ward Watcher, so use the pre-export check and pick out and check all of the queries. I also use the text box to confirm things like abnormally high or low physiology results or if I’m unable to code the Reason for admission.

How do you manage the coding for Reason for admission?

As I have been using the coding method for 11 years, I find it quite straightforward, but if I have trouble finding a code I have help from the anaesthetist on the unit. If I am really stuck, I use the phone a friend option and call my Case Officer.

How do you work with colleagues to keep track of outcomes and other relevant data?

When patients are discharged from the trust I check where they go and update this on Ward Watcher. I have the contact details for data clerks from other hospitals in the transfer area so we can exchange the details of the final outcomes of previous patients. I find this invaluable as it saves so much time when obtaining the relevant information for the final outcome.

How do you manage potential readmissions at the end of the DVR?

I used to find these quite hard until I found a really useful way of doing these on Ward Watcher. If you go into the admission record and find the hospital number, you can then use Ward Watcher to search for other admissions for the same patient. This makes the process really straightforward.

Do you have any general tips for data collection or validation?

I try to get on with DVRs as soon as they come in so I am always up to date, using all the resources around me. Having access to things like ABG results also really helps with blood result queries.

I also make an effort to keep colleagues updated and present on data input at partnerships days, so that everyone knows about common issues which come up.

If I’m not sure about anything I ask my Case Officer or anyone else at ICNARC, because they usually know the answer!

(Sue Vaughan accepting her Validaiton Superstar prize from Case Officer, Nick Hudson)

Published: 3 June 2015

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