Gastrointestinal Endoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that involves an examination of the inner lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy examines the oesophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). The viewing tool, called an endoscope, is passed through the mouth.
A colonoscopy examines the inner lining of the large intestine (rectum and colon). This is performed by passing a small flexible tube through the rectum.
The Gastrointestinal Endoscopy National Quality Improvement Programme was developed by the Conjoint Board of RCPI and RCSI in 2011.
Gastrointestinal endoscopy, like many diagnostic procedures, involves decision making under conditions of uncertainty. Endoscopy and colonoscopy can be performed by specially trained nurse endoscopists, surgeons or physicians, which is why RCPI and RCSI are jointly leading this programme.
The Conjoint Board’s aim was to systematically produce robust evidence to ensure that endoscopic procedures in Ireland meet the highest international standards. It also wanted to address the lack of national standards or benchmarks for auditing GI endoscopy services.
This programme was previously known as the National Quality Assurance Programme in Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Participating endoscopy units have agreed to implement practical quality improvement measures, as outlined in the Guidelines for the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy National Quality Improvement Programme.
The NEQI working group have defined Key Quality Indicators (KQIs) that are used to assess the performance of an endoscopy unit. Key quality areas include average medication dosages, sedative reversal medications usage and polyp detection rates. The data related to those KQIs are recorded in the online quality information platform NQAIS-Endoscopy.
Once the NEQI Programme is fully implemented in an endoscopy unit, they are able to run their own quality improvement reports. Using NQIAS_Endoscopy, they are able to review their performance regularly and compare it to the aggregate national performance.
An essential component of the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy National Quality Improvement Programme is NQAIS-Endoscopy, an online quality information system that was built to store, analyse and report on endoscopy units’ performance. It was developed by HSE Health Intelligence Ireland in colaboration with the Conjoint Board of RCPI and RCSI.
NQAIS functions as a central repository for quality improvement data and allows the NEQI Programme to generate national reports on the key quality areas in diagnostic endoscopy in Ireland.
The overall national reports show the trends in the key quality areas. Endoscopy units are able to monitor, review and improve the quality of their work in the context of national norms as well as share best practice with other participants.