Information governance for costing at a system level
04 January 2022
The NHS is moving to a more collaborative, integrated approach to designing, planning and delivering health services across local systems. Good-quality data is fundamental to providing the right care to the right patient in the right place. Patient-level costing information is integral to the decisions that need to be made across multiple services, pathways and organisations in order to manage current services and determine the future models of care.
The desire to improve population outcomes and tackle health inequalities means that finance data is needed to understand how resources are currently distributed across the different parts of local health systems, including across provider collaboratives and place.
This information governance briefing has been written following several meetings of the Healthcare Costing for Value Institute Costing Group, where members have discussed their desire to start linking patient-level cost data across their local health system to support service improvement, and the information governance challenges that they have faced.
The first section provides an overview of the key guidance. This is followed by a description of some of the information governance challenges that NHS organisations face. The final section provides examples of integrated care systems (ICSs) who are successfully linking datasets, although it should be noted that we have yet to find an ICS who has linked patient-level cost data.
The current data sharing rules make it hard for NHS organisations to take their first steps in mapping costs across patient pathways in order to understand system costs; information which is needed to understand the allocation of resources and improve value.
Clear national guidance, as well as developing good collaborative relationships between system partners, and building trust with citizens about the use of their data, is needed to accelerate this agenda.
Find out more about the Healthcare Costing for Value Institute here