Frequently asked questions

Healthcare Frequently Asked Questions

We are responsible for driving improvements in the quality and safety of healthcare on behalf of patients. We develop standards, monitor compliance with standards and carry out investigations where there are reasonable grounds to do so.


One of our functions is to carry out national Health Technology Assessments (HTA) across our health system. HTAs evaluate information about the clinical and cost-effectiveness of technologies as well as evaluating social, ethical, medicolegal and organizational aspects.  HTAs inform investment and disinvestment decisions which aim to maximize patient health gain from fixed healthcare budgets. We also advise on the collection and sharing of information across our healthcare services. We evaluate and publish information about the delivery and performance of Ireland’s health and social care services.

Under the Health Act 2007, the Authority does not have a remit to address individual complaints in relation to services provided for or on behalf of the Health Service Executive (HSE). Each service provider has a statutory responsibility to respond to complaints and would suggest that you contact them directly to address your issues.


The HSE Consumer Affairs Office also has a role in responding to concerns. The HSE Consumer Affairs Office can be contacted on, by phone at 1890 425 555 or at Consumer Affairs Corporate Office, Health Service Executive, Oak House, Lime Tree Avenue, Millennium Park, Naas, Co. Kildare.


However, we are interested to hear concerns you may have about care that could indicate a risk to the health and welfare of service users. We will use the information provided to us when we commence monitoring service providers against the final National Standards for Safer Better Healthcare.


In very serious cases, the Authority may initiate or be asked by the Minister to carry out an investigation into the safety, quality and standard of healthcare services, if there is a serious risk to service users.


You can contact our concerns by writing to: Concerns about services, Health Information and Quality Authority, George’s Court, George’s Lane, Dublin 7.


Emailing: or telephoning: 021 240 9646.

All staff of the Authority are obliged to follow a code of conduct, and be fair and objective in our dealings with people and organisations. If you are not happy with your dealings with the Health Information and Quality Authority, please let us know. We regard all complaints as opportunities to review practice and procedures and identify areas for improvement.


Contact us at: Complaints, Health Information and Quality Authority, Unit 1301, City Gate Mahon Cork


Ph: 021 240 9300 or email View our complaints policy.

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is a form of research that generates information about the clinical and cost-effectiveness of health technologies.


These technologies can include drugs, medical devices, diagnostic techniques, surgical procedures and public health programmes such as cancer screening programmes.


A Health Technology Assessment (HTA) may also look at the social, ethical, medicolegal and organisational aspects associated with use of a technology including its resource implications and budget impact.


The information provided by the HTA is used to inform health policy decisions regarding the investment in (or disinvestment from) these health technologies.


The main issues considered as part of a HTA are:

  • does the technology work?
  • for whom does it work?
  • what is the benefit to the individual?
  • at what cost?
  • how does it compare to the alternatives?

A HTA usually consists of two parts:

  1. a review of the available published and unpublished literature
  2. an economic evaluation to see whether an intervention is cost-effective compared with the current situation.

For each HTA, an Expert Advisory Group is convened to provide access to expert opinion and information as required

An Individual Health Identifier for individuals (IHI) is a unique, non-transferable lifetime number assigned to all individuals accessing health and social care in Ireland. Its purpose is to accurately identify the individual, enabling health and social care to be delivered to the right patient, in the right place and at the right time.

The introduction of an IHI for individuals that can be assigned to all individuals in Ireland is essential for patient safety and the provision and management of high quality health and social care in Ireland.

A unique health identifier for healthcare practitioners (HPI) is a unique, non-transferable lifetime number assigned to a healthcare practitioner, such as a general practitioner, nurse or dietitician. Its purpose is to identify the individual as one and the same person and to allow the “attaching” of other information, for instance their educational status, clinical practice development and what organisation(s) they currently work in.

A unique health identifier for healthcare Organisations (HOI) is a unique, non-transferable number assigned to a health and social care related organisation. Its purpose is to identify an organisation and verify that it is registered and authorised to provide health and social care services.

A HOI can be assigned to hospitals, GP practices, pharmacies, dental practices, residential care services for older people, residential care for people with disabilities, physiotherapy centres and many more.

A considerable amount of information is collected on a daily basis about our health and social care services in Ireland. These included administrative data sources, censuses, national surveys and patient registries. This information is used for many important purposes such as examining how frequently certain diseases occur, measuring performance of health organisations, looking at how resources are used in the health system, and developing healthcare policies. Examples of major national health information sources in Ireland include the National Cancer Registry Ireland and the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry Scheme.

Information governance is concerned with a framework, including policies and procedures, for handling information in a confidential and secure manner to appropriate ethical and quality standards.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measures of performance that are used by organisations to measure how well they are performing against targets or expectations. KPIs measure performance by showing trends to demonstrate that improvements are being made over time.

Minimum Data Sets (MDSs) outline the data required for a specific purpose. The Minimum Data Set for a KPI will specify what data needs to collected and will provide a definition for each piece of data so that it is collected consistently by everyone

An Electronic Patient Record is an electronic record of health-related information on an individual within a single healthcare provider (e.g. single hospital or GP practice) or within a single domain (e.g. a diabetes patient record).

An Electronic Health Record is an aggregate electronic record of health-related information on an individual that is created and gathered cumulatively across more than one health care organisation and is maintained by the healthcare providers involved in the individual's health and care. It is generally composed of set of extracts from individual Electronic Patient Records and is specifically designed to support shared care across organisational boundaries.