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Although the availability of good quality information has always been important to good management in the health service, the advent of the new Health Service Act has made it a prerequisite. Timely, relevant and accurate data are now essential to the development, honouring and monitoring of contracts and hence to the survival of provider units. Just as good information is integral to the business of health care, so it is integral to the provision of quality in health care in all its manifestations. Contract management, clinical audit, and patient and staff satisfaction hinge on the availability and accessibility of good record and information systems and procedures, and must also be measured and evaluated by the intelligent use of data.
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