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Hospital Waiting Lists: Making National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) Data Available in 21st Century format

- May 11, 2015 in Adrian Corcoran, Denis Parfenov, hospital, Hospital Waiting List, NTPF, Open Data, Open Data Ireland, Press Release

Open Knowledge Ireland Calls for Hospital Waiting List “Open Data”

- April 27, 2015 in Adrian Corcoran, Denis Parfenov, healthcare, hospital, Leo, Leo Vradkar, NTPF, Open Data Ireland, Press Release, Vradkar, waiting list

*** Improve long term planning and increase effectiveness of governance.***

Monday, April 27th 2015: Open Knowledge Ireland today called on Health Minister, Leo Vradkar, to support the efforts of the Open Knowledge Community to increase the usefulness of publicly available Health Sector Data, by ensuring its publication in an open data format. The National Treatment Purchase Fund currently publishes its Out-Patient Waiting list and In-patient/Day Case Waiting list reports in PDF format which makes them impossible to access automatically thus limiting their usefulness. Over the past few months Open Knowledge Ireland has scraped the data from these NTPF lists and created a dataset of easily accessible information. The datasets are available here and clearly show that the longest waiting lists are in the areas of Otolaryngology, Orthopaedics, Opthamology and General Surgery. Open Knowledge Ireland believes that if the NTPF begins publishing datasets in an accessible way, then this can act as a catalyst to encourage other agencies to make their publicly available data open.  Adrian Corcoran (Open Knowledge Ireland), commented: ‘We would like to replicate the NTPF pilot by building a network of “projects” which each tackle a specific area of publically available healthcare data and then ensure that these islands of data can be crosslinked for increased transparency.’ This requires a twined approach:
  1. Track 1 – Publish publicly available Health data in an open data format (Health Minister, Leo Vradkar)
  2. Track 2 – Develop prototypes to help visualise this information, with a particular emphasis on linking across datasets (Open Knowledge, Volunteers)
Open Knowledge Ireland’s Denis Parfenov, commented: ‘In May, the government will relaunch the data portal which is the ideal opportunity to include hospital waiting lists in Ireland’s open data. We’re calling on Minister Vradkar to introduce open data of hospital lists as a matter of urgency, which in itself may not directly reduce waiting lists, but it will increase transparency which can lead to prioritisation of funding to improve access to health; this is surely one of the most basic but important needs of all citizens.Ends For further information: Denis Parfenov, Ambassador of Open Knowledge for Ireland, 086 385 0044 Adrian Corcoran, Project Director, Open Knowledge Ireland, 087 680 3873 Rachel Power, Public Relations Executive, 087 933 1154 Project URL: Note for Editor: Open Knowledge Ireland ( is part of the global Open Knowledge non-profit network. OK are people passionate about openness, and using advocacy, technology and training to unlock data to enable people to create, manage and share knowledge. The Open Knowledge ( is a non-profit organisation founded in 2004 and dedicated to promoting open data and open content in all their forms – including government data, publicly funded research and public domain cultural content.

First Irish Charity Data HackDay took place on Saturday July 26th 2014 at Tcube

- September 4, 2014 in Adrian Corcoran, Adrian O’Flynn, Allen Thomas Varghese, charity, Chris Garde, Data, Dave Corley, Denis Parfenov, Flora Fleischer, Grazia D'Aversa, Hackday, Helen Nic Giolla Rua, Ingo Keck, Ireland, Open Knowledge Ireland, Patrick Killalea, Salua Nassabay, Tracey P. Lauriault

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 13.27.58
When: Sat, 26th of July, 2014
Where: TCube kindly hosted the event to support the work done for the Charity sector
Organiser: Open Knowledge Ireland
Who: 13 participants: Dave Corley, Tracey P. Lauriault, Patrick Killalea, Adrian Corcoran, Allen Thomas Varghese, Ingo Keck, Helen Nic Giolla Rua, Adrian O’Flynn, Flora Fleischer, Denis Parfenov, Chris Garde, Grazia D’Aversa, Salua Nassabay
Main Findings from first Irish Charity Data HackDay
  1. No standardised way of tracking income and expenses
  2. Not all charities make income and expense data publicly available on their website
  3. When published, income and expense data is not published in an ‘open’ format
… and here is how it all went down on Saturday 26th July 2014 at Tcube:
The day started with a welcome speech by our conveners and hosts Denis Parfenov and Flora Fleisher of Open Knowledge Ireland.  A short presentation was given by Flora Fleischer. Adrian O’Flynn, our Charities Subject Matter Specialist, and the person who inspired the event, introduced the topic of spending for charities in Ireland. He highlighted recent issues portrayed in the media and explained why it would be useful for the public to be able to compare charities based on their financial reports.  Here is his presentation. Adrian Corcoran, the event’s project manager, provided detailed instructions on how to work together for the day.  He followed this outline (  
Three main datasets were used for the CharityHack:
  1. An overview working document listing basic data about the charities: (
  2. An excel spreadsheet (CharityFinancialDataFinal.xlsx), that includes detailed data for a number of charities, which were initially extracted from the annual reports by Adrian O’Flynn.
  3. A reference document which includes definitions of the codes used in the document above (e.g. expenditure codes)
  Participants were divided into three teams “red”, “green”, “blue”, following the team label of the charities in the overview document.   Participants from each team picked a charity from the overview document.  Adrian Corcoran told us how to label the data, how to quality check the numbers within and how to verify the data with the annual reports. These data were then assembled into one shared document.  Data quality issues were reported and then corrected by Adrian Corcoran.   Any issues were reported during this process and the more serious problems were shelved for later. Once this work was completed, only data that passed data quality processes were included.  
The charity data used for this CharityHack exercise are as follows:
  1. Data were extracted from the annual financial reports of 24 of the largest charities in Ireland (€1Mil+).  NOTE This represents a small sample of the thousands of charities in Ireland.
  2. These are charities known through their public brand awareness for the fiscal year 2012 (see the definition).
  3. ONLY charities where funding represents charitable funds collected voluntarily from the public were selected.  This excludes charities that primarily rely on large institutional funds (e.g., Irish Aid Grants, HSE Grants).
  4. Only charities that have been independently audited and who have published their financial statements on a publicly accessible websites were used.
  5. Only charities who followed the Statement by the Accounting Standards Board on the SORP Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice were used (Section B: Resources Expended). Not all organizations in Ireland follow this standard. It is only because of this standard that it was possible to derive standardized financial data from the financial statements in the annual reports. The data here reflect resources spent on Governance, Fundraising and Charity.
  6. The list of charities was derived from the survey conducted by the Irish Charity Engagement Monitor (ICEM).
  7. This final dataset was quality checked by the participants at the 2014 Charity Hackday on July 26.
  8. The original dataset was created by Adrian O’Flynn.
  It is a small sample, but this illustrates the power of open data.   The dataset that was generated on the HackDay, and which is being continuously developed, can be found on the  Open Knowledge Ireland website. Finally a first draft of a future website was created, where charity data can be be displayed in an easy to understand fashion. Thanks to Barry Alistair (TCube), Adrian O’Flynn (Charity Subject Matter Expert), Adrian Corcoran (Project Manager), and Denis Parfenov & Flora Fleischer for organising the Charity HackDay. And many thanks to all the participants who lent their time and skills! We could not have made as much progress in one day without you!
Photo report of the day: Pictures are courtesy of Dan Alexandru who kindly joined us on the day to capture all the fantastic work happening! Thanks Dan!