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Private health data will be integrated into NHS systems to level out standards of care

Data collected from independent healthcare services will be funnelled into NHS systems and standards for the first time in order to address the long-standing concern that privatised care isn’t transparent enough.

In a new initiative, NHS Digital announced that private data will be recorded in the same way as NHS data in England in order to boost the visibility of the quality of care provided and promote “the completeness of patient records” where people use both private and public services.

The Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt) is being jointly led by the NHS data body and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, NHS Improvement and the CQC.

Today’s news comes after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ordered private hospitals to submit performance and quality information after a 2014 investigation highlighted concerns over visibility and competition. More than 500 hospitals were forced to submit data to PHIN, which uses them to develop performance measures for private healthcare – with some even facing formal action last year after failing to meet the set deadlines for publishing information.

The first phase of the new programme will see “co-operation between all parties” to accelerate the publication of CMA-mandated information, whilst Phase 2 will redirect the flow of data for around 750,000 privately-funded hospital episodes each year from PHIN to NHS Digital.

Health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt, who recently gave private hospitals two weeks to “get their house in order on quality and safety” after the CQC claimed a third of them were failing patients, said: “Earlier this year, I asked NHS Digital and PHIN to work together to ensure that we can see the same standards of transparency in the private sector as in the NHS. The result has been the ADAPt programme, which will drive improvements in data collection and help patients and others understand more about the quality of care.

“This will be an important, practical step in taking forward the safety agenda in the Independent Sector.”

Sarah Wilkinson, NHS Digital’s chief executive, argued that integrating data from private suppliers into NHS-based systems will help pad out the records of patients whose care is split across private and public providers. This is expected to “improve safety, efficacy and convenience.”

“In addition it will provide insights into patient outcomes in the private sector and how they compare to the NHS. These insights will help increase standards of care in both sectors,” added Wilkinson.

A public consultation on the scope and objectives of this will be launched later this year.


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