Confidence in the data

Malcolm Gladwell of the ‘tipping point’ fame recently said that more data increases our confidence not our accuracy. If we look at what we know about harm and incident reporting are we growing more confident? I regularly look at the NRLS data and ask myself what it is actually telling me.

I can see that the same types of incidents are reported year on year, and I can see that the numbers of reports increase year on year but am I confident that this is telling me where the most harms are on the NHS or that the increase is good or bad?

The data in the NRLS can tell us facts but they can’t tell us why the incidents happen, they can’t tell us the nature of the harm and the behaviour or factors that led to the incident.

Context is vital but we don’t collect context.

We need new methods to find the truth in data.