Aligning data across the piste: improving data transparency in a post-Paterson era

Safety and learning, improving governance in the private health sector

The next phase of the Acute Data Alignment Programme has been launched by NHS Digital and PHIN (the Private Healthcare Information Network) as part of a consultation aimed at better aligning healthcare data with NHS recorded activity (source: NHS Digital).

The proposals set out a series of changes to how data is recorded and managed across private and NHS care, along with a series of pilot projects, based upon feedback from a variety of stakeholders.  

The consultation was published a couple of weeks after the report of the Independent Inquiry into the issues raised by Paterson was published on 4 February – and is hosted on the NHS Digital Consultation Hub. Providers of care, clinicians and other organisations with an interest in private healthcare, especially patient groups and professional bodies, are all encouraged to share their views.

The consultation and its survey are described in detail in the Change Proposal document which you can read here.

We share a few key proposals

  • PHIN will share the national data set of private admitted patient care in England with NHS Digital, creating a single source of healthcare data in England – this recommendation has been supported by the Paterson Inquiry recommendations to create a single repository for the practice of consultants in private and public healthcare across England.
  • The repository will be based on a common set of standards to record and report activity, quality and risk in a consistent way across both sectors.
  • NHS Digital will also pilot collecting data directly from independent providers on privately funded care within its Secondary Uses Services, consolidating the data reporting processes and reducing the administrative burden on hospitals.

The intent is to share this data with PHIN so they can assess whether it would be suitable to use for the publication of hospital and consultant performance information as mandated by the Competition and Markets Authority.

However, it is worth noting PHIN’s comments in the Paterson report on the issue of data sharing:

ADAPt will take the process of alignment as far as is possible within the bounds of current legislation and regulation, but it is possible that some changes may ultimately be helpful or required. If approached with care, we believe the removal of some of the differences that persist in the application of legislation to private healthcare would be welcomed and could also reduce the burden of data collection. ”

David Hare, chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, commented:

“The recent Paterson inquiry report rightly called for much more of a ‘whole systems’ approach to patient safety and data transparency. In seeking to better align NHS and independent sector data, the ADAPt programme represents a key step towards the seamless flow of data along the patient journey – helping to ensure full visibility of the safety and effectiveness of care delivered by all providers, and enabling patients to make the most informed choices about their treatment.”

Have your say by 31 March

You can share your views by completing the online survey here – NHS Digital expect this survey to take no more than 20 minutes to complete but will of course vary depending on the level of detail in your response.

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