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Supporting data quality


NJR Data Entry – Automated Data Quality Audit Functionality in Data Entry

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 preparing for the financial year 19/20 data quality audit, covering operation dates within the period 1st April 2019 – 31st March 2020. 

On 10th April 2019 a new automated process was implemented on the live data entry system providing functionality that will enable users to upload the PAS data file directly to the NJR via the system and view the results of the audit on screen. This simplifies the current process 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” was also 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 will be given a Data Uploader user role.

There are a number of key benefits to moving to an automated process for audit. Some of these are listed below:

  • Enables users to submit and check files any time for any time period, which expands the validation work timeline.
  • The new process will remove 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. 
  • Enabling certainty that the file has been received:  The data uploader will only receive an email notification should the data upload fail.
  • Hospitals can choose the frequency of their audit through incremental file uploads and therefore plan NJR audits within their audit schedule.  We recommend a quarterly upload.
  • Audit results will be made available on screen for ease of management.
  • Each hospital will be able to input MDSv7 records into edit, correct and resubmit them directly, making the audit process for these records more efficient.
  • The accessibility to submit and check data at any time during the year and therefore maintain a high quality compliance figure throughout the year.
  • 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 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 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 fourth year in July 2019, 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 change that is happening right across the orthopaedic sector. NJR 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 so that the right decisions are made.


NJR Data Quality Videos

Please see the links below to watch two short surgeon and hospital videos. These short clips from early in the NJR audit timeline introduce the data checking process as well as the activity and benefits associated with participating in the data completeness and quality audit programme.

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

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