The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) is today making access to its secure online portal available to consultants working in private healthcare, giving them the opportunity to review their entire clinical practice data for the first time, covering both their private and NHS practice.
As the approved information organisation for private healthcare, PHIN aims to publish information for patients in relation to specialist consultants in private practice from Mid-2018, just as they are currently able to search for information by hospital. The first information available will include numbers of patients treated for common conditions, and average lengths of stay, alongside profile information including GMC practice status.
Hospitals are legally obliged to supply detailed data, enabling PHIN to produce information for patients. PHIN has previously highlighted ongoing concerns with data quality, and a number of hospitals that have failed to provide any data are subject to enforcement action by the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).
Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Chair of PHIN, said “For information to be useful to and trusted by patients, it must first be trusted by the doctors it describes. PHIN’s portal gives consultants a unique view of their whole practice, private and NHS, and allows them to check data well ahead of any information being published. Inevitably, stark variations in the quality of the data provided by hospitals will be exposed. We are asking consultants to engage with their data to identify any issues or gaps, and to work with PHIN and the hospitals at which they practice to get the data and its interpretation right.”
Dr VJ Joshi, PHIN’s Clinical Informatics Director, said “The view of private and NHS practice together is unique – most consultants will not have had this available before. A number of leading doctors have already seen their data and given us suggestions, which we are working to incorporate. Others are already using our data to inform appraisal and revalidation. The accuracy of the information will improve as doctors check and use it. We’re grateful to the doctors who engage early, as that helps us to improve the service for all.”
PHIN is working with professional associations and hospitals to engage consultants in their practice data to accelerate the publication of much needed performance and quality information for patients on private healthcare in the UK.
Professor Derek Alderson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said “There have been a large number of initiatives in the NHS to improve patient safety. Yet the same focus from government and healthcare leaders has not happened in the private sector. The recent abhorrent case of Ian Paterson served as a reminder that this sector needs as much focus on safety as the NHS. The Private Healthcare Information Network is taking steps to improve data publication, and is now inviting consultants to play their role to help improve the outcomes and safety data about their private practice. We encourage surgeons to support this initiative and work to improve it as it matures.”
From early 2018, individual consultants will be asked to formally validate the completeness and accuracy of the data held about them in preparation for publication. PHIN is keen to ensure that information about any consultant is only published where consultants are confident that it is complete, accurate and presents a fair view of their practice. PHIN has developed tools and materials which are available in the newly launched consultant portal to support consultants. We are encouraging all consultants working in private healthcare to login, check and work with their hospitals to ensure data is complete and correct before publication.