The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) has received reassurance from insurers about their desire to work more closely with advisers and healthcare providers to improve the availability of healthcare quality data to patients.
The organisation revealed that representatives from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Aviva, Axa, Bupa, HP Alliance, Vitality and WPA who attended its insurers summit said they were keen to work more closely with consultants and healthcare providers to improve the availability of patient information and support delivery of the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014 (PHO).
Under the PHO, a private hospital must supply the PHIN with information about the treatment it has carried out for its private patients so it can be published for patients and healthcare professionals to see.
Insurers are also required to inform patients that information about consultants and private hospitals is available when communicating to people taking out or renewing cover, and when they are seeking pre-authorisation for treatment. The insurers also have a place on the PHIN board.
Only last week the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) rebuked the Ulster Independent Clinic and Fortius Clinic after they failed to comply with the order by not providing data to help prospective patients compare healthcare providers and consultants.
And at Health & Protection’s Health Summit last month PHIN chief executive Dr Ian Gargan (pictured) revealed he did not believe insurers on the whole were doing enough to promote the PHIN site.
PHIN which already works closely with the private healthcare sector to collect and publish information on its website to help patients make informed choices, invited all the insurers for the first time to encourage them to be more involved in the process.
Gargan said: “We were delighted to be able to bring together representatives of the sector’s biggest insurers to ensure they understand our aims, that we appreciate their needs and that we engage them fully in playing their part in delivering the CMA order.
“It was great to hear widespread agreement that it is in the best interests of patients, providers, consultants and PMIs to have healthcare information that is accessible, easy to understand correctly and, in context.
“For patients, this means a better understanding of their options. For consultants and hospitals it can help inform their decision making when providing care.
“We see that when hospitals and consultants provide more complete data, they get more patient engagement through the website, so there is a commercial benefit too.”