Consultants providing private healthcare have been urged to update their clinical data as the Private Healthcare Information Network prepares to publish performance statistics for patients.

From mid-2018, specialist consultants who provide privately funded healthcare services will be required to supply detailed outcomes information to patients considering their treatment.

In a step towards this goal, PHIN has launched a new online portal allowing clinicians to review their performance data.

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Chair of PHIN, said the system was intended to give consultants the opportunity to “identify any issues or gaps” in their data and rectify it before any information was made available publicly.

“For information to be useful to and trusted by patients, it must first be trusted by the doctors it describes,” Dr Vallance-Owen said. “PHIN’s portal gives consultants a unique view of their whole practice, private and NHS, and allows them to check data well ahead of any information being published.”

“Inevitably, stark variations in the quality of the data provided by hospitals will be exposed.”

A total of 11 performance measures will be published by PHIN under a mandate handed down by the UK Competition and Markets Authority, whose 2014 investigation criticised the lack of transparency in private healthcare.

The first performance measures for NHS hospitals were published in May.

Performance measures for consultants will follow in early 2018. Consultants will be invited to log in to the online portal under a phased roll-out leading up to Christmas, where they will be asked to validate the completeness and accuracy of the data held.

Speaking to Digital Health News, Matt James, Chief Executive of PHIN, said: “We must ensure that the information published for patients is accurate and complete. The data supporting this information can also play a positive role in building a real understanding of private healthcare, and facilitating improvement.

“When consultants are reassured about the data and have validated it, PHIN will begin publication of basic information, beginning in 2018, and working toward a complete set of performance measures. In the meantime, we will work with engaged consultants and professional leaders to improve our process and the presentation of information.”

Professor Derek Alderson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said that while there had been a large number of initiatives in the NHS to improve patient safety, the same focus had not been applied to the private sector.

“The Private Healthcare Information Network is taking steps to improve data publication, and is now inviting consultants to play their role to help improve the outcomes and safety data about their private practice,” said Alderson.  “We encourage surgeons to support this initiative and work to improve it as it matures.”

Private Healthcare Information Network launches consultant portal

  • Online portal allows clinicians to identify gaps in their practice data
  • First three performance measures for consultants will be published in early 2018
  • CMA wants to bring quality and transparency of data on private healthcare in line with NHS
  • 11 performance measures on practices will be published in total