The future of Dr Foster Intelligence, the UK’s best known provider of hospital performance information and analysis, is under review by KPMG on behalf of the Department of Health and Dr Foster Holdings LLP.

Dr Foster Intelligence is best known for its annual hospital guides, providing league tables of hospital performance data.

DFI was launched as a joint venture between Dr Foster and the NHS Information Centre in 2006. On 9 July the IC transferred its shareholding to the DH.

The review will explore strategic options for the future of DFI in line with government’s stated objective to create an open market in health performance and outcomes data.

This was a key aim of the recent white paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’, which stated the government’s commitment to an NHS "information revolution", providing patients with quality information and data on all aspects of healthcare.

The white paper sets the aim to increase the use of healthcare informatics to create better care, outcomes and reduced costs. The DH says that the review of DFI is intended to ensure it is “best placed to meet this challenge”.

The DH owns a 48.75% stake with 51.25% held by Dr Foster Holdings LLP. The recent acquisition of Dr Foster Research by Dr Foster Intelligence has increased its scope and will provide opportunities for expansion in other sectors and overseas.

The appointment of KPMG to carry out the review follows the firm’s unpublished 2009 review of NHS digital strategy last year. Recommendations of the DH-commissioned review included merging the online activities of NHS Direct and NHS Choices.

The DH says the review is in line with the government’s policy to maximise the value of assets and commercial opportunities as explained in the findings of the arms length bodies review.

Health minister Simon Burns said in a statement: “In the white paper ‘Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS’, we set out a vision for an information revolution to give patients greater choice and control.

"We will publish our information strategy paper in the autumn. This review will ensure that the DH is making the most of Dr Foster Intelligence.”

Dr Foster Intelligence chief executive, Tom Moloney, said: “With the increased emphasis on healthcare information in the white paper, this is the right time to embark a review of Dr Foster Intelligence.

"We will work with our partners to consider the best options for the company and the shareholders.”

For the year ending 31 December 2009, DFI generated revenues of £22.1m.