Independent hospitals must do more to demonstrate quality, says PHIN

Too many independent sector hospitals are still not providing enough information on the quality of services they provide, the chair of the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) said today.

According to Dr Andrew Vallance Owen, there have been noticeable improvements in the quality of data submitted by hospitals over the past year, but  ‘it has taken a frustratingly long time to reach this point’.

His comments came as PHIN published its first comprehensive summary of data reported by private healthcare providers. The information body, which operates under the mandate of the Competition and Markets Authority, now publishes basic performance measures along with activity figures for 382 hospitals, covering an estimated 96% of total private healthcare activity.

PHIN is due to expand the data made available to patients this autumn with the publication of ‘Never Events’ and reportable infections as well as patient reported outcome measures for hip and knee operations. To date, however, relatively few hospitals have submitted sufficiently detailed data.

Just 89 hospitals, representing a third of UK private healthcare activity, have provided detailed enough information for the publication of the first adverse events measures and only 68 have submitted detailed data on PROMs.

Dr Vallance Owen said this meant there was now a critical mass of hospitals for which PHIN can begin publishing the information. However, he warned that with 483 hospitals that had still not submitted valid data on adverse events – 228 of which had made little or no progress – hospitals would need to do more to demonstrate the quality of their services.

‘Complete, valid and accurate information is crucial for helping patients make informed choices about their care. Where this transparency is not available, patients should rightly raise questions about the care provided,’ he said.

The Independent Healthcare Providers Network (IHPN) said PHIN’s work was vital to ensure greater transparency and enable patients to make more informed choices.

IHPN CEO said: ‘Independent providers have a strong record on delivering safe and high quality care – almost 80% of independent hospitals are rated good or outstanding by the Care Quality Commission – and already submit a significant amount of patient safety data to regulators including the CQC and NHS Improvement. Our members are working hard to ensure accurate submission of the data required by PHIN with significant progress made in the last year, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with PHIN to ensure all providers are able to comply with their obligations in this area.’

PHIN’s data maturity report is now live on its website and will be kept updated as further progress is made.