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Using data to monitor services

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We gather and analyse data about services to help us decide when, where and what to inspect.

We use a set of processes to analyse data about services. We call this intelligent monitoring. It gives our inspectors a picture of areas that may need to be followed up during an inspection. It also helps us to make better use of resources by targeting activity where it's most needed.

We publish the data we use to monitor NHS acute trusts, GP practices and trusts that provide mental health services on our website. We do this so that people can see how we make the decisions that inform our inspection activity.

The data we look at

The data we analyse is about things that indicate whether the care people are receiving is safe, caring, effective, responsive to their needs and well-led. These indicators include things like waiting times, mortality rates and feedback from staff and people who use services.

We look at different data in different sectors.

In detail: some examples of the data we analyse

We look at over 150 indicators to help us monitor acute and specialist NHS trusts. These include:

  • Mortality rates
  • Maternity data
  • Diagnostic waiting times
  • The results of inpatient surveys
  • The NHS staff survey.

To help us monitor GP practices, we look at 33 indicators, including:

  • Prescribing indicators
  • Safeguarding referrals and alerts
  • Screening uptake
  • Feedback left on NHS Choices and other websites.

The indicators we look at to help us monitor adult social care services include:

  • Data that service providers send us – such as about death, serious injury and abuse
  • Whether and how often pressure sores, medication errors and falls occur
  • Admissions to hospital for preventable conditions
  • Safeguarding alerts and concerns
  • Whether there have been frequent changes in registered manager – or if the registered manager is absent altogether.

What it tells us

We compare the information we collect across England to help us pinpoint differences from national averages. When we find variation, the action we take depends on what kind of variation we've identified. It might involve carrying out an inspection or we may contact the service to find out more.

While our indicators raise questions about the quality and safety of care, we don't use them on their own to make judgements. We can only reach judgements about the quality of care after we've carried out an inspection.

Last updated:
29 May 2017


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