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10 November 2017
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Q. Is there a standard way to enter patient information on GP practice software systems?

A. The HIQA document 'National standard demographic dataset and guidance for use in health and social care settings in Ireland' was released in January 2016. It provides guidance on how to enter titles, given names and surnames. For example, there should be no spaces before or after the apostrophe in names such as O'Mahony or O'Brien. It's a bit more complicated for people with Mc and Mac in their names. It depends on the user preferences, so that McDonald and Mc Donald are both correct and depend on how the user writes their surname. Getting the patient names correct will be increasingly important as individual health identifiers (IHIs) are allocated throughout healthcare. So now is a good time to get the names right. To access the document, go to and search for demographic dataset under the publications section.