Project PEDS05 16.05.2022

A scoping review of the evidence base on approaches to improving quality of data relating to health inequalities

The aim of this work is to identify and review the evidence base on approaches taken within the health and care system to improve the quality of the data used for the identification and monitoring of health inequalities.

Introduction 

A year of Covid-19 has starkly highlighted the health inequalities that exist in England. Higher mortality in males, in many ethnic groups and in areas of higher deprivation replicates the pattern that existed already for most non-communicable disease. Data analysis to improve understanding of health gaps is an important exercise that contributes to an aspiration for fair and inclusive health. Good data is essential for understanding patterns and inequalities in health service provision and health outcomes, and necessary for informing and evaluating attempts to improve care or reduce inequality.

Several policy reports released in the UK have highlighted the importance of improving the quality of data used for identification and monitoring of health inequalities. This raises the question as to how can data quality be improved and the evidence-base around what has been shown to work. In this project we aim to answer this question through a systematic literature review building on an analysis and report prepared by a public health registrar working with (OHID, formally PHE).

Project aims 

The aim of this work is to identify and review the evidence base on approaches taken within the health and care system to improve the quality of the data used for the identification and monitoring of health inequalities.

The specific objectives are:

  • Describe approaches that have been used or recommended to improve the quality (availability, completeness, accuracy, relevance and timeliness) of data for identification of health inequalities.
  • Describe approaches that have been used or recommended to improve the quality of data for monitoring changes in health inequalities and describe the evidence base on the effectiveness of such approaches or recommendations.

Ultimately the aim is to make the highly valuable insights from the PHE/OHID project more accessible to the research and practice community.  We will do this by disseminating findings of this project via an academic publication as well as a summary of findings through other mediums such as a short article on our website or a blog.

We are actively pursuing funding opportunities to develop a resources to guide strategies and approaches across health and care settings to improving the quality of data in relation to health inequalities.

Project activity 

We have developed a search strategy and conducted a systematic search of the literature. Currently we have identified papers to be included in the review and are in the process of analysing them.

Who is involved 

  • Principal Investigator: Dr Louise Lafortune (University of Cambridge)
  • Vicki Peacey (OHID)
  • Sowmiya Moorthie (University of Cambridge)
  • Sian Evans (OHID)
  • Andres Roman-Urrestarazu (University of Cambridge)
  • Carol Brayne (University of Cambridge)

Contact us

Sowmiya Moorthie

Email: sam71@medschl.cam.ac.uk