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Informed choice for an information revolution

January 4, 2010

From the Conservative health manifesto published today:

When patients not only have the power to choose where they get treated but also the information to make an informed choice, then hospitals and GPs that don’t provide good care will have to raise their game.

With power comes responsibility, and it is essential that doctors and nurses are properly accountable to patients for their performance. We will unleash an information revolution in the NHS by making detailed data about the performance of trusts, hospitals, GPs, doctors and other staff available to the public online so everyone will know who is providing a good service and who is falling behind.

This is exactly right – it is of course the rationale behind the launch of iWantGreatCare in 2008 – and it is fantastic to see a politician with the courage, honesty and vision to embrace this approach. Patient experience information will be an integral part of this approach as it is known to be a valid, timely and accurate marker of quality clinical outcomes, cost-effective care and of satisfied, productive healthcare professionals. Moreover, in a huge number of health and social care settings the experience of the end-user is the only practical metric that can be used to assess changes in performance.

This information revolution will benefit every member of the public and is way overdue.

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