Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) Scheme is a health information system designed to collect demographic, clinical and administrative information on discharges and deaths from acute hospitals nationally. From 1st January 2014 the Health Research and Information Division at the ESRI and the National Casemix Programme (HSE) became the Healthcare Pricing Office (HPO). Part of the remit of the HPO is to oversee all functions associated with the operation of the HIPE database, including the development and support of the data collection and reporting software, training of coders, data quality, audit, data analysis and reporting, and responding to requests for information.

All acute public hospitals participate in HIPE, reporting on over 1.7 million records in 2016. Given the comprehensive coverage achieved by this information system, the data gathered by HIPE are used by policymakers, clinical teams and researchers. For information on the interpretation of HIPE data please refer to the data dictionary and instruction manuals available online at www.hpo.ie . At the start of 2015, the classification used to code clinical information was updated from the 6th Edition to the 8th Edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM), Australian Classification of Health interventions (ACHI), Australian Coding Standards (ACS).

Each HIPE discharge record represents one episode of care and patients may have been admitted to more than one hospital with the same or different diagnoses. In the absence of a Unique Patient Identifier the records therefore facilitate analyses of hospital activity rather than incidence of disease.

The 2015 Annual Report differs from the structure of recent Activity in Acute Public Hospitals in Ireland Annual Reports 2010–2014. In contrast to these earlier reports, discharges with admission type ‘Maternity’ are no longer presented separately in Section Four. In lieu of this, maternity discharges are separated out in selected tables in Section Two and Section Three (see Section 1.6 of 2015 report available online www.hpo.ie for more detail). Analysis of length of stay has also been revised in the 2015 report to report on overnight in-patients, please see Section 1.6 of the 2015 HIPE annual report for further information.