NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre launch a consultation on hospital data to raise standards and improve patient safety

NHS England and the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) today published NHS Hospital Data and Datasets: A Consultation to explore how better extraction of information from hospitals’ data systems could help raise standards, improve safety, and reduce inequalities in patient care.

The Hospital Data and Datasets Consultation asks for views on what information should be extracted from hospitals in future to support the commissioners of health care services, and how to minimise any extra burden on hospitals.

The potential new data requirements being consulted upon include extracting information about tests and investigations performed, nursing care delivered, and medicines prescribed.

High quality data will underpin the transformation  of the NHS, ensuring that it becomes truly patient centred and clinically led.  Collecting and sharing accurate information with providers, commissioners, patients and the public will help to  assess safety issues and identify areas where outcomes and patient experience can be improved.

Dr. Geraint Lewis, Chief Data Officer for NHS England said:

“Although the NHS has some excellent data systems, our commissioners are currently missing whole swathes of information about the care being provided in hospital. For example, commissioners do not currently know what medications patients are receiving in hospital, nor what tests and investigations are being performed.

This consultation asks how we should upgrade our current data service to bring it up to modern standards. I am clear that new data service must comply with the highest standards of information governance, and we must avoid any extra burden on frontline staff.

By extracting a more complete set of data from hospitals, the NHS will be far better placed to raise standards and reduce inequalities in care.”

Dr Mark Davies, Medical Director of the HSCIC, said:

“One of the most powerful resources the NHS has is the information that describes what it does and the outcomes we achieve.  It is important, however that the data we use to run the NHS reflects the real world experience of our clinicians and patients.

This is an exciting opportunity to look again at the data we gather to ensure it is clinically meaningful.  The information will help us all understand patient journeys through the care system in a joined up way that will enable us to improve services over time.

We will be combining this information with outcome data and patient experience data which will build greater insights into what’s working well and what isn’t. This has the potential to transform how we deliver clinical care.  I encourage members of the public, as well as clinical colleagues, to participate in ensuring we are collecting the data that is important and ensuring we are doing it in the right way.”

The NHS Hospital Data and Datasets Consultation provides a platform for all interested parties to share views and have their say in shaping the future of NHS hospital data and datasets. The consultation closes on 16th September 2013.


  1. Egg says:

    The data published is too often bias towards providers and not the public. Instead of publishing percentage rtt waiting times one should publish how many remain unbolked and 18 weeks, both in volume and by weekband. Too frequently once a patient drops over the 18weeks they are drip fed back in when it suits the provider, and allows them to maintain 90%.

    Trusts should publish statistics on cancellations on the day as a totality and not use reportable. We need this visibility to drive mprovements, one could report only three cancellations (that are reportable) yet 150 total cancellations, hardly efficient yet invisible and therefore not prioritised.

  2. Harry Longman says:

    Three main things I’d like.
    1. Fast data. We don’t need patient level detail or audit level precision for adjusting tariffs. Other people want those for checking. But pretty good data very fast (eg next week) is highly valuable for operational improvement, demand & supply.
    2. Data to help people improve, not to justify policy. So for example % discharged in 4 hours is all about a target, saying nothing about how long it took in A&E.
    3. Accurate data – for example, is the A&E volume on HES accurate – or is it merely precise, but missing whole chunks of data from noncompliant providers? These figures are crucial for policy and research, and an estimate is much better than simply a void.

  3. Jey Nicholas says:

    Capacity planning data which will indicate how staffing is matched with workload