Secondary Care

Testing phase for private healthcare data collection begins

NHS Digital has started the pilot testing phase for the collection of private hospital data by the NHS for the first time.

A project led by NHS Digital and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) will see routine data for the independent sector collected to support a national dataset.

The pilot programme will test the technical data collection requirements of private patient data from PHIN to NHS Digital. It aims to include whole-practice performance measures for hospitals and consultants.

In February to May 2020, NHS Digital ran an open consultation and gathered feedback from 30 respondents to change the way private healthcare data is collected, processed, reported and disseminated. The responses came from groups such as NHS Resolution, BMA, General Medical Council and Health Data Research UK.

Many of the respondents highlighted the need for transparency and referenced the Paterson inquiry (published February 2020). They also made note to potential challenges such as differences in terminology and coding used.

The consultation then proposed three pilots:

1. Piloting the flow of private healthcare data from the Private Healthcare Information Network to NHS Digital

2. Piloting the flow of private healthcare data collected from NHS Private Patient Units by NHS Digital to PHIN

3. Piloting the supply to PHIN of private data from independent providers to NHS Digital

The pilots are part of the Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt), initiated by the Secretary of State for Health in 2018.

Jem Rashbass, Executive Director of Data Services at NHS Digital, said: “We are pleased that the Adapt programme has reached this important milestone with the launch of these pilots.”

“The consultation has shown that there is a desire for a joined-up approach to data in public and private healthcare and these pilots will be the next step on achieving that.”

“With the pandemic it has never been clearer how important it is to make data available across the whole healthcare sector to ensure the highest standards of care for patients and transparency across the system.”

Matt James, Chief Executive Officer of PHIN, said: “We are committed to a vision of a single system of data collection for all regulated care regardless of how it is funded or where it is provided, led by the NHS. This will enable better governance and regulation to ensure safer care, and better information becoming available to patients to enable informed decisions.”

A summary of the responses to the consultation can be found here.