Private Healthcare Information Network publishes first hospital performance measures..

The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) will today publish the first of a series of performance measures intended to improve the availability of information to patients considering private healthcare services and start to bring standards of data quality and transparency in line with the NHS.

For the first time, patients will be able to find independent and credible information on hospitals when considering their private care options. This information is particularly useful when discussing options with their GP or specialist.

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 patient satisfaction measure for hospitals as used by the NHS (the ‘Friends and Family Test’). These new measures will be added to existing information including up-to-date inspection ratings from national regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

“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.”

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, Chair of the Private Healthcare Information Network 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. Healthcare is a complex environment, but the team has done a great job, working closely with clinicians and hospitals, of bringing clarity and credibility together in this website.”

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.

The performance measures are the first three, of eleven, specified by the UK’s competition regulator the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA), whose 2014 investigation found a problematic lack of transparency for consumers in private healthcare. 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 (FIPO), 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.”