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Data sharing between private healthcare and NHS to move into new phase

A consultation has been launched to seek views on the creation of a single source of healthcare data in England, with a series of pilots announced

NHS Digital and the Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) have launched a consultation and a series of trials around the integration of private healthcare data and NHS recorded activity.

The consultation wants views of NHS providers, clinicians, the public and other private sector-related organisations on how data is recorded and managed across private and NHS care.

Under the Acute Data Alignment Programme (ADAPt) launched in 2018, PHIN will share private healthcare data with NHS Digital, creating a single source of healthcare data in England. The partnership is a collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The consultation was launched after the Paterson Inquiry, which highlighted shortcomings such as lack of joined-up information in healthcare and advised the creation of a single data repository. The consultation closes on 31 March 2020.

By redirecting the flow of data for hundreds of thousands of privately funded hospitals from PHIN to NHS Digital, the central dataset is intended to allow providers, care planners, regulators and researchers to better understand how private and public healthcare data sits alongside each other and how it can be used to improve care overall.

“Regardless of where you’re treated or how your care is funded, everybody deserves safe, compassionate care,” said health secretary Matt Hancock, who noted the “shocking failures” found by the Paterson Inquiry that can happen as a result of not sharing and acting on data in the NHS and independent sectors.

“We are working to deliver the highest standards of care for patients. Trusted data is critical to this mission and the ADAPt programme will help improve transparency and raise standards for all”
Matt Hancock, health secretary

“We are working tirelessly across the health system to deliver the highest standards of care for patients. Trusted data is absolutely critical to this mission and the ADAPt programme will help improve transparency and raise standards for all,” he noted.

In addition, a number of pilots were launched around the use of data from the public and private healthcare systems. In one of them, NHS Digital will trial the collection of data directly from private sector healthcare providers within its Secondary Uses Service (SUS), consolidating data reporting processes.

The data will then be shared with PHIN, so the network can assess whether it would be suitable to use for the publication of hospital and consultant performance information as mandated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The National Health Service is the only public sector organisation most UK citizens trust when it comes to the use of personal data, a survey from the Open Data Institute (ODI) and YouGov has found. Nearly half of the respondents (44%) feel government and regulators should have the most responsibility for ensuring data about them is handled ethically.

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