PHIN believes that providing patients with easy to understand information about the quality and safety of care in private healthcare is vital.
We have been working with 200 independent hospitals since 2012 to develop a way of collecting and publishing information. In April 2015 we received a legal mandate to work with all hospitals providing private healthcare in the UK. That mandate comes from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA is the UK regulator of business competition, and is responsible for protecting consumers from unfair behaviour by companies.
In 2014, an investigation by the CMA found that the information available to people considering private healthcare was inadequate. Patients do not have sufficient information available to understand and compare their options to help them make informed choices.
In response, the CMA published the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014. This imposed a duty on hospitals to submit data to PHIN as the new Information Organisation (IO) for private healthcare. Since then, we have reached out to around 600 facilities in the UK with more than 500 being required to participate and submit data for publication. We have a duty to publish this data as performance measures to help patients make informed treatment choices.
The information we will publish
The CMA has specified 11 performance measures for PHIN to publish at both hospital and consultant level. These are:
a) volumes of procedures undertaken;
b) average lengths of stay for each procedure;
c) infection rates (with separate figures for surgical-acquired and facility-acquired infection rates);
d) readmission rates;
e) revision surgery rates;
f) mortality rates;
g) unplanned patient transfers (from either the private healthcare facility or NHS Private Patient Unit (PPU) to an NHS facility);
h) a measure, as agreed by the IO and its members, of patient feedback and/or satisfaction;
i) relevant information, as agreed by the IO and its members and, where available, from the clinical registries and audits;
j) procedure-specific measures of patient reported health outcome, as agreed by the IO and its members to be appropriate; and
k) frequency of adverse events, as agreed by the IO and its members to be appropriate.
What information will be published when
The current website was launched in April 2017 with patients being able to search for 250 hospitals and more than 150 commonly performed operations. The measures included patient numbers, average length of stay and a measure of patient satisfaction. We also provided details of a hospital's regulator rating.
In January 2018 we added an indicator of hospitals' participation in measuring health outcomes and another for patient experience. At the same time, we began expanding the range of searchable operations, which now stands at 220 and added new hospitals to the listings. Over the summer, consultants were invited to approve the first two measures for their practice and we launched consultant searches on the website in September 2018.
As required by the CMA, we will continue the process of enhancing transparency in private healthcare by publishing further measures on quality and safety, over the coming months.