Consultants working in private practice have been asked to begin approving performance data for publication, as part of efforts to help patients make more informed decisions about the treatment they receive.
The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) is an online portal that enables clinicians to review practice data, such as typical lengths of stay and the number of procedures performed.
It forms the initial stage of an effort to make performance data publicly available to private patients, as mandated by the Competition & Markets Authority’s Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014.
Consultants in private practice can now preview and approve their performance measures through PHIN’s online portal, ahead of an initial publication pegged for the end of July, by which time PHIN hopes to have approved data submitted by some 1,000 consultants.
Matt James, CEO of PHIN said: “We want to launch this service for patients with a strong representation of the leading consultants in the country. The response from the professions so far has been superb, with the main specialty organisations giving us great input and support to prepare the data and communicate with their members.
Some 4,000 consultants have logged in to PHIN’s portal since December to review the data submitted by private hospitals and offer PHIN feedback on the process.
Eventually, PHIN will need to publish performance data for all of the estimated 14,000 consultants admitting patients privately, including patient satisfaction levels, reported outcomes and adverse event rates.
Information about the fees charged by consultants – including outpatient clinicians – will also be published from next year.
Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, chair of PHIN, said: “The publication of consultant-level private healthcare performance information is an important step in the journey towards greater transparency for private healthcare.
“Approving their measures will enable consultants to demonstrate the scope of their care to patients, contribute to public understanding of clinical quality, and drive service improvements.”
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.
PHIN’s announcement follows Jeremy Hunt’s call on hospital leaders to respond to concerns raised by the CQC over the standards and governance of some sites.
Professor Derek Alderson, of the Royal College of Surgeons called the initiative “a major opportunity” to improve transparency in the private healthcare sector and “genuine commitment to improving patient safety and reducing risk.”