Patient-level costing: can it yield efficiency savings? – Nuffield Trust – 20 September 2012

Posted on September 21, 2012. Filed under: Health Economics | Tags: , |

Patient-level costing: can it yield efficiency savings? – Nuffield Trust – 20 September 2012

“This report examines how, in an era of financial challenge, NHS trusts can make better use of cost information at the patient level, as the first step towards greater efficiency.


The challenge faced by the NHS of achieving major efficiency savings (estimated at around four to five per cent a year between now and 2015) highlights the desirability of improving the availability and scrutiny of data on the costs and outcomes of health care.

Patient-level costing systems (or ‘PLICS’) were introduced in the NHS in the mid-2000s. The Nuffield Trust research summary: Patient-level costing: can it yield efficiency savings? highlights the key findings of a full report looking at the use of these computerised information systems in hospitals that were set up to track and enable analysis of the costs of care incurred by individual patients.

The report examines whether the implementation of information systems for patient-level costing might lead to greater efficiencies.

Specifically, the study examines how trusts are using and planning to use patient-level costing systems, drawing on the experiences of several early adopters. It also draws an empirical analysis of data from one trust that is more advanced than most in its use of patient-level costing.

The study found that costs to the hospital can be very different from the price they receive for care, with only 17 per cent of cases within 10 per cent of the NHS tariff cost. It also found costly variations of care procedures for similar cases within trusts, and a ‘clustering’ of costs around a small minority of patients; both of these offer the potential for service redesign and potential cost savings.”

… continues on the site


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