Government sells patient data

The government has launched a commercial patient data database to deliver operational intelligence to health providers.

The government has launched a commercial patient data database to deliver operational intelligence to health providers.

The new NHS information service draws on a database containing details of every contact a patient has had with their healthcare providers.

The service is a joint venture between the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) government agency and private firm Dr Foster.

The initiative is designed to improve the use and accessibility of data across health and social care services, and the paid-for information will be marketed as Dr Foster Intelligence.

The first database released contains anonymous GP and hospital data from 439,000 people who were admitted to hospital as emergency cases at least three times in one year.

These so-called “frequent fliers” are said to represent a quarter of the total annual emergency admissions to NHS hospitals.

The database helps providers build a picture of how many people regularly go to hospital and how much is spent on their care.

The HSCIC is contributing £12m to the venture, although it is not known how much Dr Foster is paying in.

The government is hoping that the database will create an “information market” in the health sector.

 

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