Our team at Designated Medical have recently been in touch with Jonathan Evans
Communications and External Affairs Manager, Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN), to ask him why private practitioners should be part of their network.
For those of you who may not be familiar with PHIN, it is an independent, government-mandated source of information about private healthcare. The principle behind the network is to ‘empower patients to make better-informed choices when choosing private treatment.’
PHIN are committed to improving transparency to open up the private sector, to using feedback to drive continuous quality improvement and to providing information to consumers and patients which enables them to make better-informed choices about their healthcare.
PHIN is a legal requirement for all consultants in the UK, but we asked Jonathan what else would he add to the standard information available on PHIN, especially to new consultants entering private healthcare.
‘Engaging with PHIN is really important. Not only is it a legal requirement to engage with PHIN to submit fee information but reviewing your data and signing it off for publication is crucial and, when consultants have done that, many of them tell us that it is a very valuable resource.
Following the Paterson Inquiry and greater collaboration between the NHS and private sector through the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a big push for greater transparency, and it is unlikely that private healthcare will ever go back to the days of old. People considering private treatment are consumers and they act like consumers. Greater transparency about what work consultants and hospitals undertake, and the outcomes (i.e. the benefit to patients), is now an expectation.
PHIN is not only a great place to market yourself, but it is also a place where you can view your whole practice data. This can help with whole practice appraisal and revalidation, but many consultants also find this helpful for understanding the care they provide in relation to others.’
You will find on the PHIN website there is a secure portal for both hospitals and consultants to access PHIN data.
Once PHIN receives private activity data associated with a Consultants’ GMC number, a Portal account is created using their GMC registered email address. PHIN will contact the consultant via email to sign up to the Portal.
As a consultant the Portal allows you to:
- review data that has been submitted about your practice
- submit your fee information for publication
- create a profile about you and your clinical practice for publication on PHIN’s website
- verify performance measures for publication.
PMI companies are especially interested in PHIN data, and have access to the website, but how important is the data to the PMI companies and will it be provided to patients whose care is funded by private health insurance in the future? Jonathan shares his views.
‘PMI companies are interested in the information which is published on the website for anyone to access and would like to see more. Insurers are a key stakeholder group – they understand that greater transparency is where the private healthcare market needs to head and are totally supportive of the work PHIN does. We know they are keen to ensure good compliance by the consultants and hospitals with whom they work.
Consultants are required under the CMA Order to publish their individual fees but, because of package pricing and differing insurer arrangements, this consultant fee information is not very useful to consumers by itself. We, therefore, want to work with PMIs, provider hospitals and consultants on the publication of a more useful range of prices. From PHIN’s perspective, it is important that there is much greater transparency in general around costs and price, to assist people considering private health care.’
COVID has driven the healthcare industry, both public and private to deliver big changes in the way they practice, and PHIN is no exception. A recent article in the Independent Practitioner Today discussed a new research project that aims to give consultants more meaningful feedback about the work they do in private practice. Bearing this in mind, Jonathan explains what future projects PHIN have in place to help deliver against this.
‘PHIN is working with LSE on a project to improve the collection of data on patient-reported outcomes (PROMs). It is so important that we listen to patients and use their feedback to enable more informed choice by healthcare consumers. We are working with hospitals and consultants to make sure that we do collect meaningful information from PROMs and QPROMs (for cosmetic surgery), and this is played back to consultants.
PHIN will be launching a new website this summer (2021). We have taken the time to engage with a number of different stakeholders, most notably patients themselves, to understand what information matters to them, and how we can present information in the best possible way. We are excited about this and we’d encourage consultants to make sure they are on the new website This is something they won’t want to miss out on if they are going to grow their private practice, especially with more people expected to consider private care due to growing NHS waiting lists.
We are asking them to:
- Submit their fee information
- Complete a profile – the better the profile the more likely Patients will engage with it!
- Review and verify their practice data. ‘
Our team at Designated Medical are available to support you with delivering the PHIN criteria. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with your Medical PA, Designated Marketing team or with Hannah Smith to discuss further.