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NHS collaborates with private health on sharing patient data

Work has begun on establishing a set of data standards to enable private healthcare patients’ data to be shared with the NHS

NHS Digital and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) have unveiled plans to collaborate on an initiative to ensure consistency of patient data.

The Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt) aims to integrate data on privately funded healthcare into NHS systems and standards for the first time. NHS Digital said this will address a long-standing concern about the lack of visibility of quality in private care and will promote the completeness of patient records where some private care has been received.

The partnership, in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission (CQC), aims to accelerate publication of information.

Phase 2 of the partnership will involve redirecting the flow of data for about 750,000 privately funded hospital episodes a year from PHIN to NHS Digital. A public consultation on the initiative’s scope and objectives will be launched later this year, NHS Digital said.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Earlier this year, I asked NHS Digital and PHIN to work together to ensure that we can see the same standards of transparency in the private sector as in the NHS. The result has been the ADAPt programme, which will drive improvements in data collection and help patients and others to understand more about the quality of care.

“This will be an important, practical step in taking forward the safety agenda in the independent sector.”

Sarah Wilkinson, NHS Digital chief executive, said: “Integrating data from private suppliers into NHS systems will improve the completeness of records for patients whose care is split across private and NHS providers. This will improve safety, efficacy and convenience for these patients.

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“In addition, it will provide insights into patient outcomes in the private sector and how they compare to the NHS. These insights will help increase standards of care in both sectors.”

Sharing accurate patient data is recognised as a key pillar to underpin many of the digital initiatives at the NHS. In April, the Science and Technology Committee’s report on genomics said that genome sequencing brings huge opportunities for the UK, but the government must ensure the NHS and life sciences sectors have the right infrastructure and data-sharing agreements in place.

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