An economic cost analysis of emergency department key performance indicators in Ireland

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ObjectivesHigh quality data is fundamental to using key performance indicators (KPIs) for performance monitoring. However, the resources required to collect high quality data are often significant and should usually be targeted at high priority areas. As part of a study of 11 emergency department (ED) KPIs in Ireland, the primary objective of this study was to estimate the relative cost of collecting the additional minimum data set (MDS) elements for those 11 KPIs.MethodsAn economic cost analysis focused on 12 EDs in the Republic of Ireland. The resource use data were obtained using two separate focus group interviews. The number of available MDS elements was obtained from a sample of 100 patient records per KPI per participating ED. Unit costs for all resource use were taken at the midpoint of the relevant staff salary scales.ResultsAn ED would need to spend an estimated additional €3561 per month on average to capture all the MDS elements relevant to the 11 KPIs investigated. The additional cost ranges from 14.8 to 39.2%; this range is 13.9–32.3% for small EDs, whereas the range for medium EDs is 11.7–40%. Regional EDs have a higher additional estimated cost to capture all the relevant MDS elements (€3907), compared with urban EDs (€3353).ConclusionThe additional cost of data collection, contingent on that already collected, required to capture all the relevant MDS elements for the KPIs examined, ranges from 14.8 to 39.2% per KPI, with variation identified between regional and urban hospitals.

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