Supporting Data Quality

NJR Data Entry – Automated Data Quality Audit Functionality

The NJR Data Quality Audit is an annual activity that comprises a local hospital (or IS Group) providing an extract of data from the local hospital PAS system to the NJR.  This data is then compared (or matched) against the NJR data submitted by the hospital, and omissions and discrepancies in data are reported to the hospital in an audit tool (excel workbook) for correction.

During the last few years of running the audit process, the NJR has been gathering feedback from hospitals and has been working on improving and enhancing the process to make it more user-friendly and efficient.  The NJR is now working on the financial year 19/20 data quality audit, covering operation dates within the period 1st April 2019 – 31st March 2020. 

In April 2019 a new automated process was implemented on the live data entry system providing functionality that enables users to upload the PAS data file directly to the NJR via the system and to then view the results of the audit on screen. This makes the process more straightforward and less time-consuming and gives hospitals greater usability and control of locally submitted data, alongside greatly reducing the burden of work on hospital Data Entry staff.

Within the Data Entry system a new user type “Data Uploader” has also been created to facilitate the upload of the PAS file.  The Data Uploader can be an existing Hospital Data Manager/Hospital Data Entry user, or if your data is usually provided by your Information Team, then a named individual in that team can be given a Data Uploader user role.

There are a number of key benefits to moving to an automated process for audit as it:

  • enables users to submit and check files any time for any time period, which expands the validation work timeline.
  • removes the need to email data back and forth.  All data will be managed through the secure upload process and the data entry screen/data quality menu. 
  • enables certainty that the file has been received:  The data uploader will only receive an email notification should the data upload fail.
  • gives hospitals the choice to decide the frequency of their audit through incremental file uploads and therefore plan NJR audits within their audit schedule.  The NJR team recommends a quarterly upload.
  • audit results to be made available on screen for ease of management.
  • means that each hospital is able to input MDSv7 records into edit, correct and re-submit them directly, making the audit process for these records more efficient.
  • enables the accessibility to submit and check data at any time during the year and therefore maintain quality compliance figures throughout the year.
  • serves as an early alarm for low/non-compliance, enabling timely action to address this.

Further information, including user guides and sample upload files is available.  If you have any questions regarding data quality audits currently in progress, or regarding the new automated system, please contact

Background to NJR Data Quality Audits

In 2014, the National Joint Registry (NJR) started a review of its current understanding of data quality in the registry and looked at how to increase data completeness, timely submission and data accuracy further. This is to ensure that the information held in the NJR can be used effectively at all levels of analysis; nationally, regionally and at hospital and individual surgeon level, for the benefit of patients, surgeons, hospitals and implant suppliers and research programmes.

This review work is summarised in the NJR’s ‘Supporting Data Quality Strategy’ document and covers all of the areas that affect the quality of data, including existing activities and the new initiatives that have been implemented over the subsequent years.

This web page will also be a hub for information on one of the national programmes of work that will be supporting quality hospital data collection, entry and accuracy through local audit.

NJR data completeness and quality audits

Data quality and validation are essential components of any audit or scientific research.  As such, the NJR’s programme of work to improve the quality of our data has been a key focus in recent years, driven through the NJR’s ‘Supporting Data Quality Strategy’. 

Key to this strategy has been the NJR’s national programme aimed at assessing data completeness and quality within the registry.  Known more simply as the Data Quality Audit, the programme, which completed its fifth year during Summer 2020, has enabled the NJR to compare patient record for record procedures recorded in local hospitals’ databases to the registry, with the aim of investigating the accurate number of arthroplasty procedures submitted compared to the number carried out. 

The National Joint Registry will be continuing its audit programme to retrospectively check the quality of data and the commitment to patient safety from all hospitals reporting to the registry on an annual basis.

Understanding data as a tool for quality improvement is an important part of the ongoing data-driven implementation that is happening right across the orthopaedic sector. Now wit well over three-million records, the NJR’s valuable data is a fundamental driver to inform improved quality of care for patients. Therefore, it is imperative that the data provides an accurate picture of what is happening locally also, so that the right decisions are always being made.

NJR Data Quality Videos

Please see the links below to watch two short surgeon and hospital videos. These short clips are both from early in the NJR audit timeline and the presenter is our previous NJR Medical Director, Mr Martyn Porter who has now been succeeded as NJR Medical Director by Mr Tim Wilton. 

The videos introduce the data checking process, as well as the activity and benefits associated with participating in the NJR’s data completeness and quality audit programme.

Whilst some of the processes have since been slightly changed to improve the work and further support hospitals, the principles outlined in the videos are still relevant and of interest:

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