The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) has today published an evidence-based assessment (EBA) of the steps required to complete the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) Private Healthcare Order’s Article 21 measures by the 2026 deadline.

Article 21 of the Order sets out the CMA’s expectations for the publication of information on a range of performance measures about surgical procedures carried out in private hospitals.

The publication builds on the “Roadmap and delivery plan 2022-2026 for the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014” announced in summer 2022 and follows development work by a ‘Task and Finish Group’ and a period of consultation with the private healthcare sector.

At a high-level, the Assessment Project recommendations are that:

  • Although publication in the public domain for the hospital-level metrics is essentially complete, we need to look at ways to improve compliance, including data presentation, coverage/participation and data quality, as well as adopt some minor, technical enhancements to specific measures.
  • PHIN should publish nationally aggregated data about procedures, with the ability for it to be broken down to show how outcomes may vary for different patient groups.
  • Information on all the Article 21 measures on consultant and hospital practice should be published on the restricted-access part of the PHIN website (the portal), so that consultants and hospitals can use the information to monitor and improve performance. Ultimately, this will benefit patients and consumers by improving the availability of data and transparency across the sector. It will also enable hospitals and consultants to benchmark their performance against their peers (for example to support their own clinical governance and quality improvement initiatives) and is a necessary step towards any wider publication.
  • At consultant level, publication into the public domain of measures beyond volume, length of stay, patient feedback and links to registries is not currently recommended. This is because the remaining measures are not yet appropriate for use as publicly available comparators, for example because the quality and power of the data limits valid, statistical comparison. We will continue to keep these under review in consultation with stakeholders.

Jayne Scott, PHIN’s Chair said: “This document marks a significant milestone in the delivery of the CMA’s Order as it sets out the data that can be ‘meaningfully’ published for each of the remaining measures. This means publishing data that is understandable by both patients and clinicians so that it can inform patient choice, facilitate shared decision making or allow statistically valid comparisons between healthcare providers.

“We remain committed to the principle of publishing data for use by patients but, as set out in detail in this document, this will be contingent on factors such as the quality, and statistical power, of the inbound data.

“I am grateful to everyone who has been involved in this process which will continue our acceleration of activities and the improvements in patient care that should result.”

Read the EBA.

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