I've created an Informatics Manifesto, of basic principles for NHS bodies to adhere to. It's written specifically with CCGs in mind, but could easily be adapted for other NHS institutions. Your comments would be appreciated.
Informatics is a tool, not an end.
Information handling within the CCG aims to be:
• minimally intrusive
• maximally cost-effective.
• WILL NOT ask for any data without a clear potential benefit to future clinical practice (or alternatively because of statutory requirements)
• WILL NOT ask practices to reveal confidential information about identifiable patients unless this falls within GMC guidelines.
• WILL NOT give people or organisations huge quantities of unnecessary data to analyse purely to look good, or to meet targets for ‘reflective practice’
• WILL NOT ask for year on year improvement once a sensible upper target has been reached. High quality will be acknowledged and further improvement will not be demanded. Beyond this level it will be enough to have plans ‘to continue at the present high standard’.
• WILL NOT judge individuals or organisations using metrics over which they have little or no control.
• WILL attempt to make every moment count which is spent on analysing data
• WILL squash any attempt to gather unnecessary, or unnecessarily detailed, data
• WILL look for honesty in the interpretation of data. It WILL NOT encourage ‘tick-box exercises’ over data analysis, nor ask for fanciful interpretations of data to disguise the fact that nothing practical can be done to improve future clinical outcomes. If improvement can’t be envisaged, users must say so, and will not be adversely marked nor criticised as a result.
• Targets and comparisons WILL ALWAYS be made on a truly like-for-like basis
• League tables WILL ONLY BE PUBLICLY PUBLISHED where like is truly being compared with like
• The CCG’s informatics’ handling of claims will operate a on a high-trust basis