IT system to record all hospital malpractice claims

17 Apr 2003

Stars, a risk management information system developed by Marsh Ireland, is to be installed in all Irish public hospitals, the Department of Health and Children announced this morning.

The first healthcare installation of its kind in Europe, it places the Irish public hospital network ahead of its European peer group with no other EU county currently operating such a comprehensive system to record all medical malpractice incidents and claims, according to the department.

Stars allows for the collection and analysis of highly comprehensive data on all clinical incidents and will allow individual hospitals to take quicker corrective action. Incident and claim details are logged at each hospital with data being consolidated centrally over the internet. With almost 3,200 compensation payments in 2002 to members of the public who pursued claims against Irish health boards and local authorities and reports of underreporting of surgical errors, this user-friendly system will be an invaluable tool in healthcare management, the department states.

Speaking about the installation of Stars, the Minister for Health and Children, Michaél Martin TD says: “An additional €6.6m was made available to healthcare agencies for risk management in 2003. The installation of Stars now puts us at the forefront of healthcare risk management in Europe. This initiative will support other advanced risk management practices already being undertaken as part of the enterprise liability/clinical indemnity scheme. Easy data input leading to output of complex, yet user-friendly, analysis and information will ultimately improve the standard of patient care in our hospitals while also ensuring efficient application of budgets at a critical time for Irish healthcare.”

Stephen Byrne, risk consultant at Marsh Ireland, says: “Pro-active risk management, supported by an appropriate risk management information system, creates significant risk cost savings in commercial and non-commercial organisations around the globe. While the Department of Health and Children may not be able to influence, directly, the compensation claims culture in Ireland, the installation of Stars and other pro-active risk management initiatives being put in place will help reduce costs into the future.”

The Stars system will be installed initially in test sites in the Midland, North Western and North Eastern Health Board areas and in St Vincent’s Hospital and the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin.

By Lisa Deeney