A new set of performance measures for private healthcare providers has been published by the Private Healthcare Information Network.

The Private Healthcare Information Network has launched the first of a series of performance measures intended to improve the availability of information to patients considering private healthcare services.

The performance measures are the first three, of eleven, required by the UK’s competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, whose 2014 investigation criticised the lack of transparency of private healthcare.

PHIN, which provides a government-mandated source of information about private healthcare, said the moves will start to bring standards of data quality and transparency in line with that already provided on the quality and performance of NHS services.

“The information we are publishing today represents a significant step towards greater transparency in private healthcare,” said Matt James, PHIN’s Chief Executive.

“This is the first comprehensive attempt to measure the activity and performance of private healthcare across the UK to NHS standards. The availability of better information will help patients directly and will also encourage care providers to better understand the quality of their care and strive for improvement.”

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) already publishes data on the quality of independent healthcare providers, but a PHIN spokesperson told Digital Health News it planned to publish more detailed data than CQC.

PHIN said that using the data patients will be able to find independent and credible information on private hospitals.

The three performance measures published today cover 149 common procedures at over 200 hospitals and show the number of patient admissions, average lengths of stay for each procedure, and the same ‘friends and family’ patient satisfaction measure for hospitals as used by the NHS.

These new measures will be added to existing information including up-to-date inspection ratings from national regulator the CQC.

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, the former chief medical officer of Bupa and chair of PHIN said, “This is a really important day for patients that use private healthcare. Patients considering a private hospital are seeking choice and control, and that demands simple, clear information to help them make decisions.”

Private hospitals, including NHS hospitals that provide some private care, are required to supply comprehensive data to PHIN, allowing activity and quality to be tracked and reported for the first time. PHIN estimates that the information published today covers over 80% of privately funded healthcare in the UK.

Further measures will be released over the next 12 months, including infection rates, rates of adverse incidents and measures of the relative health improvement offered by key treatments. Measures for consultants will follow in 2018, and fee information from 2019.

Mr Geoffrey Glazer, consultant surgeon and Chair of the Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations, said, “Publication of these first measures for hospitals is an important step. We will continue working alongside PHIN as they move towards publication at consultant level, ensuring there is a strong clinical voice and that the information produced is fair, statistically reliable and will assist patients.”

The newly published performance measures can be found at: www.phin.org.uk