The Department of Health wants NHS organisations to publish details of their data quality as part of its plans for Quality Accounts, which will be mandatory for hospitals from next year and for primary care from 2011.

A public consultation on the proposed framework for Quality Accounts has been launched by the DH ahead of the legal requirement for all providers of NHS healthcare to publish such reports.

The DH said Quality Accounts were being introduced because there was evidence to show that publishing information about the quality of healthcare within an organisation drove improvement.

Some content will be set nationally while the majority of the content will be decided locally.

The DH is proposing that nationally mandated content will include priorities for improvements, a review of quality performance and a “simple data quality score”.

On data quality, the consultation document suggests indicators could cover: the percentage of records submitted for inclusion in Hospital Episode Statistics with a valid NHS Number and valid GP registration code; the trust’s error rate for clinical coding; and the trust’s score for information quality and records management, assessed using the information governance toolkit.

The consultation document adds: “We have selected four key indicators that seek to highlight data quality in a Quality Account and its relation to quality healthcare.”

The DH intends to publish the accounts on its flagship website NHS Choices and may develop a tool to enable patients to easily compare national mandated content between organisations.

The DH said its proposals were the result of testing, engagement and other detailed design work undertaken by the DH, Monitor, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and NHS East of England, as well as many other local and national organisations in the last year.

The consultation runs until 10 December.