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Health Health

Make clinical outcomes more transparent

Last updated: 05:01pm 6 September 2019

To help the NHS provide exceptional care in all parts of England, we will make clinical outcomes more transparent so that clinicians and frontline staff can learn more easily from the best units and practices.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.68

Our verdict

Clinical outcome transparency can improve healthcare systems, enabling professionals to learn from mistakes and discover best practices. It can also develop trust with patients and the general public. There are multiple ways in which the NHS promotes transparency and open data, including My NHS, the NHS Outcomes Framework (NHSOF) and the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF).

My NHS is a website enabling the comparison of healthcare services across a range of measures.  A report  in 2015 outlined the importance of this as an enabler of transparency. In September 2017, Jeremy Hunt announced a challenge as a part of the journey to a more transparent NHS, with £100,000 to fund apps and digital healthcare-related solutions using the My NHS open data platform. However, since the announcement we haven’t found further details.

The NHS publishes quarterly reports as part of the NHSOF, a framework designed to provide accountability for NHS outcomes.

In 2018, the government announced new guidelines for transparency in central government departments. They aim to raise standards of transparency across government.

In July 2019, the government published a response to a consultation on the PHOF. However, this was related to life expectancy metrics and didn’t mention clinical outcome transparency.

document published in July 2019 highlighted guidance to create principles which point towards efforts to make NHS data usage more transparent, with the overarching aim to improve patient outcomes.

There was no mention of this transparency policy objective in the NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019.

The government has pushed to increase transparency across departments and has maintained existing NHS transparency practices, but we found no evidence of specific actions associated with transparency of clinical outcomes. We’re marking this as ‘in progress’ but we’ll be tracking for more developments to maintain that status or to move it forwards. Follow this policy to stay up to date.

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