An Office for Patient Outcomes

There is a lot to be proud of in our national health and care system.

Some patient outcomes are strong and much information about them is collected and made accessible to professionals and decision-makers.

There are nevertheless areas of patient outcomes, such as cancer survival rates, where the performance of our health and care system needs improvement. While information about outcomes exists, there are significant gaps; issues of trust and reliability; there is only a very limited role for patient voice in determining what information is created and reported; and its use in sharpening accountability is unclear.

Similar issues existed in the past in relation to information about public finances. The creation of the Office for Budget Responsibility has gone a long way to addressing these; and it is widely regarded as a success, including in relation to improving accountability.

Other health and care systems have equivalent bodies that bring the same sharp focus to national patient outcomes. The Canadian Institute for Health Information and Australian Institute of Health and Welfare are examples.

Creating a similar body in England – an Office for Patient Outcomes – has the potential to address many of the shortcomings in current information provision and produce sharper accountability for improving patient outcomes. This would be a low-cost, high-impact innovation, building on many of the strengths of the present system. It would substitute many of the existing features of the health and care system, and improve on them, rather than add to cost and burdens.

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