By definition: Improving data definitions and their use by the NHS – Audit Commission – 19 April 2012

Posted on April 24, 2012. Filed under: Health Economics, Health Informatics | Tags: |

By definition: Improving data definitions and their use by the NHS – Audit Commission – 19 April 2012

“Data definitions. By definition: Improving data definitions and their use by the NHS

The Audit Commission’s Payment by Results (PbR) data assurance framework reviews the quality of data that underpins payment for activity within the NHS in England. It is clear from the work that we, and others, carry out that there are issues that cause disputes within and between NHS organisations around key data definitions.

The Audit Commission has published ‘By definition: Improving data definitions and their use by the NHS’, following work undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Health, the Health and Social Care Information Centre and NHS Connecting for Health.

The briefing highlights that differences in the recording of details for a patient who stays in hospital for less than 24 hours are a major cause of dispute between NHS commissioners and providers. We have found that the same treatment may be recorded as an inpatient service at one hospital, or as an outpatient at another. This simple variation can significantly increase charges, even multiplying them five times or more. Routine short-stay treatments cost the health service £6.8 billion a year so discrepancies in contract values can vary by millions.

We reviewed the existing guidance around data definitions in conjunction with the Department of Health, the Information Centre and Connecting for Health, which led to improvements in key pieces of guidance. This updated guidance is included in the briefing.

These issues with data definitions means that the Payment by Results tariff is sometimes based on data that fails to represent the services delivered. This is symptomatic of a wider problem of the need for NHS national data sets to change to take account of the way care is now being delivered in outpatient settings or outside hospitals altogether. The briefing makes a number of recommendations to resolve these issues.”

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Joining up health and social care – Audit Commission [UK] – 1 December 2011

Posted on December 9, 2011. Filed under: Health Mgmt Policy Planning | Tags: |

Joining up health and social care – Audit Commission [UK] – 1 December 2011

Improving value for money across the interface

“At a time when the whole of the public sector must find significant savings, the report says that integrated working across health and social care offers opportunities for efficiencies and improvements to services. Without it, there is a risk of duplication and ‘cost-shunting’ where savings made by one organisation or sector create costs for others. And a lack of integrated working means that people are less likely to receive the best care.

But the briefing also finds that the NHS and councils have made patchy progress in improving this joint working across health and social care.

The briefing offers guidance to local partnerships, setting out a list of questions to consider, and suggestions for interventions that might help. Case studies show how some areas have embraced partnership working and used local data and benchmarking to establish how and where to make improvements.

NHS and social care partnerships can benchmark their performance against others by using the tool that accompanies the briefing.”

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Domestic abuse services – Tool to improve domestic abuse services – Audit Commission [UK] – September 2011

Posted on September 27, 2011. Filed under: Violence | Tags: |

Domestic abuse services – Tool to improve domestic abuse services – Audit Commission [UK] – September 2011
An Audit Commission web resource for local commissioners and practitioners.

“Like all local public service providers, domestic abuse services are facing budget reductions. With less funding, partnerships need clear priorities. You may want to focus more on using mainstream staff and resources. You will want to show existing managers as well as new health and police commissioners how domestic abuse services can support mainstream statutory work and save money for partners as well as helping victims. This web resource can help you to do this. If you are involved in domestic abuse services either as an officer or a councillor, there should be something here for you. The links below walk you through the characteristics of a successful service and show you how to make practical changes with your partners to improve your own service.”

Download the domestic abuse self-assessment tool
Domestic abuse self-assessment tool ( XLS, 1mb )

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Improving coding, costing and commissioning [NHS] – Audit Commission – 22 September 2011

Posted on September 22, 2011. Filed under: Health Economics, Medical Records | Tags: , |

Improving coding, costing and commissioning [NHS] – Audit Commission – 22 September 2011

Annual report on the Payment by Results data assurance programme 2010/11Released  22 September 2011

“Summary
 
In our annual report looking at the Payment by Results (PbR) data assurance programme, ‘Improving coding, costing and commissioning: Annual report on the Payment by Results data assurance programme 2010/11’, we say that the data used to inform the current PbR tariff in the last financial year was generally good, but the NHS needs to improve the quality of its data if the government is to expand its PbR system.

The data for ‘non-tariff’ areas such as community services and chemotherapy was often of poor quality, and it is these areas that will be brought under the PbR umbrella under the government’s plans. This data is also currently used to inform local contracts.

Extending the PbR tariff system is a key government policy. Under their plans, most or all of the £51 billion spent on acute hospital activity, as well as wider community and health services, will be subject to a PbR tariff. Currently it covers £26 billion of acute services. The report summarises the findings of the Commission’s annual audit of data used to underpin PbR payments. This year the Commission looked at reference costs that are used to set the tariff, and also conducted the first major review of independent sector hospitals as part of its clinical coding programme.

An important finding from our research is that there are simple solutions available to trusts wanting to improve their data. Greater use of basic checks by trusts would lead to improved data quality. These include checking submissions against other data sources, and benchmarking unit costs against those of other providers. Better senior leadership within organisations and greater clinical involvement are also needed.

Our report finds trusts that followed recommendations from their auditors saw the quality of their data improve substantially. A checklist covering ten key areas that senior hospital managers can use to improve reference cost data quality is included in the report. The Commission’s award-winning National Benchmarker can also be used to check for discrepancies in data.”

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