The Department of Health’s plans for an Information Revolution place too little emphasis on input by patients and use of social media, a patient feedback site has argued.

In its response to the consultation on ‘Liberating the NHS: An Information Revolution’, which closes today, Patient Opinion said failing to take advantage of input from patients “unnecessarily limits the power to deliver a true Information Revolution.”

The website, which collects feedback from patients on their experiences of the NHS and feeds it back to NHS organisations, said a million people use the NHS everyday and their feedback was a large, untapped free resource available to the health service.

Patient Opinion, which was set up Sheffield GP Dr Paul Hodgkin six years ago, said that as well as using patient feedback the NHS should harness patients’ desire to receive the best care when delivering Quality Innovation, Productivity and Prevention initiatives.

The organisation suggested that the NHS might, for example, look at reducing post-operative venous thrombo-embolism by telling all pre-operative elective patients five key staff actions to look out for.

Feedback on performance from patients via a public website could then provide pressure for change, it suggests.

The website’s response also addressed the any willing provider market and notes that, unlike Crown organisations, commercial organisations can sue for reputational damage.

It claimed this was already hampering the delivery of feedback services in the care home sector.

Patient Opinion argued that the problem will become more salient as non-Crown providers become more significant providers of health services and said it should be a condition of any AWP contract that the provider accepts public comments about their service.

It added that a pilot study it has run in the care home sector led it to believe it could create a system that would make it possible for AWPs to accept negative postings, which could then be republished on NHS Choices. It felt confident that similar moves would allow Patient Opinion to cover the adult social care sector.

Patient Opinion’s consultation response also recommended that the market for information providers should enable patients to give feedback using a range of platforms.

The response warned against simply letting the market flourish. It claimed this could spread feedback, confuse patients and frustrate stakeholder.

Instead it recommended that NHS Choices’ dominant position should be used to structure the market and aggregate feedback from all relevant providers. However, it argued that NHS Choices should cease to collect feedback itself as an information market emerges.