NHS urges private healthcare to share patient data and boost care in winter crisis
The NHS has urged private healthcare operators to share data across the health network to boost patient care amid a winter crisis.
A report by the NHS’ Acute Data Alignment Programme has doubled down on its bid to create a single source of healthcare data in England, saying it could improve the quality of treatment for patients in and outside of hospitals.
The NHS’ data programme was launched in 2018 at the request of former health secretary Jeremy Hunt, following the 2017 conviction of breast surgeon Ian Paterson, who was jailed for harming patients in both NHS and private hospitals.
Data from private providers would be covered by the same security protections and confidentiality measures as NHS data, and the same rules around sharing would apply.
A public consultation on the NHS proposal is expected to take place next year.
The NHS has already begun running pilot projects, which have showed benefits not only for patients, but also regulators and researchers.
“Patient safety is the ultimate driver for this and creating a single source of healthcare data will help provide better insights and lead to improved care and treatment for patients in the NHS and private healthcare,” director of data strategy and policy at NHS Digital, James Austin, said.
“Patients can also be assured that the private provider data will be subject to the same stringent controls and protection as the NHS data we collect and hold.”