Bid to speed up publishing private doctors’ data

By Robin Stride

New procedures could be on the way to speed up the publication of data about consultants and their patients in private practice.

Specialists are currently asked to check information supplied by their hospitals before it is published by the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN).

But thousands of consultants have been slow to engage with the process so an ‘opt-out’ process is being proposed whereby data would be published unless the doctor says otherwise.

Most respondents to a recent PHIN survey felt that progress in publishing consultant-level measures had been too slow and far higher participation rates from consultants was needed. 

PHIN will now produce a detailed proposal for moving away from the current ‘opt-in’ process. 

It gave assurances it would consult with consultants and hospitals to ensure the new system provides the impetus for all consultants to engage ‘while retaining the flexibility for consultants to withhold publication of inaccurate information about their practice’.

A spokesman told Independent Practitioner Today: ‘We will give consultants every opportunity to check the data first. There will be a long lead up to this and a big communications campaign about it.

‘What we want is for people to engage with the data. If consultants find there are inaccuracies we can support them with improving data quality.’

The data, including information about operations, procedures and discharge dates, is used to calculate volumes and length of stay.