Improving commissioning data flows

Data Services for Commissioners’ (DSfC) Improving Commissioning Data Flows work includes a number of projects that will enable the healthcare system to reduce the high volume of local data flowing between providers and commissioners. They will also provide opportunities to increase consistent business intelligence to support commissioning within and across the health and social care system, which will help meet the needs of the integrated care agenda, Sustainability and Transformation Plans and New Models of Care.

We are focusing on four key areas:

  1. Establishing access to data for commissioners
  2. Implementing the De-Identification Data Items (DIDI) information standard
  3. Developing the Commissioner Assignment Method (CAM)
  4. Publishing conformed specifications to improve the standardisation of commissioning data

Establishing access to data for commissioners

The DSfC team is working to prioritise and establish access to national data sets for commissioning purposes. This involves:

  • Working with commissioning analysts to identify requirements
  • Identifying and liaising with data controllers
  • Establishing the legal basis for access to each dataset and how it will flow
  • Agreeing data items necessary for commissioning purposes
  • Engaging with relevant governance frameworks and processes
  • Producing Data Sharing Agreements
  • Ensuring data is of a usable format and meets necessary data quality checks
  • Ensuring the relevant staff have access to the data in order to undertake analysis

View the list of data sets the team is securing access to and their latest status.

Implementing the De-Identification Data Items

DSfC has proposed a new De-Identification Data Items (DIDI) information standard that implements a group of data items to ensure that all data sets in scope support the consistent de-identification of patients. It also provides derived data for analytical purposes where identities cannot be shared. The standard contains data items that are all currently described in the NHS Data Model and Dictionary and adheres to the Information Commissioner’s Office Anonymisation Code of Practice.

The DIDI fundamental standard has been approved by the Standardisation Committee for Care Information (SCCI2210 Amd 55/2016) and will be published from 1 April 2017. View the list of data items, scoping criteria and current in-scope data sets.

Improving commissioner assignment

The Commissioner Assignment Method (CAM) has been developed to complement national policies and guidance around identifying the responsible commissioner and who pays for activity. The guidance is particularly needed for cases where it may not be straightforward to identify the correct commissioner code. It also provides a way to interpret the use of these codes, specifically in national Commissioning Data Set submissions. We will continue to support this work and develop the CAM for the 17/18 financial year.

A flowchart describing the CAM process and supporting guidance is now available:

Latest guidance

Previous versions

Publishing conformed specifications to help standardise commissioning data

With the support of local organisations DSfC has published data specifications, with the aim of supplementing nationally-mandated flows with local intelligence requirements in a consistent manner. Commissioners are encouraged to review these specifications and consider implementing them with providers to support conformance of local commissioning data.

DSfC have previously published other conformed specifications, which have informed the development of new national data standards: