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CCGs face high data cost

10th October 2011
Manually compiling all the data needed for Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to prove viability could cost the NHS in England £373 million a year in management time, according to experts.
 
In order to be ready for full authorisation to go live in April 2013, CCGs will have to be able to prove clear and credible governance arrangements, including financial control and plans to continue hitting QIPP targets.
 
But because of the complexity of the information locked in GP practices, manually compiling and analysing all the data required to properly reconcile budgets and demonstrate that they are delivering the QIPP challenge could cost the average GP practice more than £3,700 a month.
 
Yet experts estimate that automating the process would cost a fraction of that – just £766 a month, including technology costs – saving nearly £3,000 a month in lost time for every practice, or £35,000 a month for a CCG of 12 practices.
 
Graham Poulter, managing director of health informatics specialist, iQ Medical, said: “CCGs are being asked to provide an enormous amount of high quality data on every element of their organisation.
 
“Any GP practice choosing to do this manually will inevitably end up choosing between compromising either the quality of the data, or the quality of care, they provide within their budgets.
 
“Automating the system is not only the most sensible way for a CCG to prove viability, but it could save enough lost time for them to return more than £420,000 a year to their commissioning budget or hire an extra GP in half of its 12 practices.”
 
The efficiencies do not include potential savings made by having strong enough data to challenge invoices from providers, where errors in SUS data can run as high as 30 per cent (Source: Audit Commission).
 
It is currently unrealistic to manually validate all SUS data and episode types within the six day ‘flex and freeze’ window, meaning most errors go unspotted and unchallenged.
 
Mr Poulter added: “The Government’s white paper, An Information Revolution, stressed the need for practices to begin ‘recording data once and using it in many ways’.
 
“Aiming for full authorisation by April 2013 is the perfect opportunity for CCGs and their member GP practices to do this: the data needs to be compiled somehow, so taking the time to automate the system now could help CCGs hit this target and save them hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in maintaining the data.
 
“Furthermore, by allowing them to challenge poor quality invoicing – which can have an impact on patient care - automated data could not only improve their service to patients, but help CCGs remain financially accountable and potentially drive significant reductions in their ongoing commissioning costs.”
 
For more information, visit www.iQ-Medical.co.uk or call 01937 587798.

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