Quality data pilot starts

By a staff reporter

Two-hundred volunteer private consultants are now working with the Private Healthcare Inform­ation Network (PHIN) to ensure information to be published soon for private patients is complete and accurate.

With less than a year until the Competition and Markets Auth­ority’s (CMA) deadline for publishing performance measures in private healthcare, the doctors last month began logging into a secure online portal to check and validate their data from selected hospitals.

It is hoped that feedback from the pilot will help the organisation refine the process as it looks ahead to a full roll-out later this year.

PHIN said it was essential for independent practitioners to be given a genuine opportunity to shape its work to help it produce meaningful and accurate information and provide real value for doctors.

An important part of this is providing access to review the base data which will drive the performance measures to be published on its website from April 2017.

The online portal enables consultants to review the data submitted by hospitals. But to successfully engage consultants, it needed to be simple and easy to use.

PHIN said it anticipated opening the portal for all consultants to review their data in the autumn.

In preparation for wider roll-out to all 17,000 consultants, PHIN and the CMA are writing to consultants to bring them up to speed with progress towards publication and the impact this will have on them.

PHIN chief executive Matt James said: ‘This is an important first step in publishing accurate and meaningful information that will be a powerful tool for consultants, as well as patients.

‘Data on privately funded care has not been shared in this way before, which is why it’s crucial to engage consultants at this early stage.

‘While we expect some teething problems during the pilot, this will be the first time they will have at their fingertips an independently evidenced report demonstrating the wealth and breadth of their practice.’

PHIN is an independent not-for profit organisation with a legal mandate from the CMA to collect and publish vital quality indicators on privately funded care. These include mortality rates, re-admission rates and patient feedback.