Urology vanguard spearheads launch of new-look NCIP data tool

A new and improved version of the National Consultant Information Programme (NCIP) portal is now available for hospital consultant surgeons, clinical leads, medical directors and responsible officers to view their surgical outcomes data to help improve clinical quality and patient safety.

Urology has been developed as a vanguard specialty for the improved portal, and a national roll-out is now under way across all urology units in England, enabling urology surgeons to review their practice using the same standardised set of clinically-led outcome metrics for the first time.

Most consultant urologists in England now have access to their surgical outcomes data across a range of metrics for over 30 procedures, developed in conjunction with the British Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS). The aim is to provide greater visibility of consultant activity to reduce variation in outcomes and identify good practice to support clinical improvement and patient safety.

Consultants are encouraged to make repeat visits to the portal and its data, which is updated quarterly, and use it for learning, appraisal and revalidation.

The NCIP portal, available via the Model Health System, has been developed for surgeons to confidentially access their unit and individual outcomes data via dashboards that allow them to scrutinise and compare their performance with their peers.

A phased roll-out will open up access to the portal for all consultant surgeons across a number of specialties, starting with urology and expanding to spinal surgery, paediatric (general & urology) surgery, orthopaedic and vascular surgery by early 2024.

Improved access

The GIRFT-led National Consultant Information Programme (NCIP) has worked with the Model Health System (MHS) to provide easier access to the portal. Better alignment with the MHS platform now allows NCIP users to move seamlessly between the portal and MHS.

In addition, NCIP has introduced new features including:

  • dashboards for clinical leads to view their specialty data for their unit all in one place;
  • greater functionality to export data from NCIP, which can be used to streamline clinical audit and support governance meetings as well as providing information for mortality and morbidity meetings.

"NCIP is a clinical quality improvement tool that provides comprehensive information, in one place, on a consultant’s whole practice, allowing clear oversight on patient outcomes. This benefits not only the consultants, hospital trusts and the NHS, but ultimately patients. Importantly, the tool can also be used effectively for appraisal and revalidation, providing a response to the Paterson Report on ensuring quality of care and safety for patients.”

Urology vanguard

Urology has been selected as a vanguard specialty for the new-look portal, with active support from BAUS. BAUS has provided clinical expertise for the development of the urology dashboards and provided data from its registries to validate the HES data presented in the NCIP portal.

The urology vanguard provides access to the portal for the majority of NHS urology consultants in England. It is the first to be rolled out nationally across all NHS trusts in England, enabling all urology surgeons to review their practice against the same standardised set of outcome metrics.  

About NCIP

The NCIP portal pulls together consultant-level data into a single repository from a range of sources, including Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), audit and registries.

It enables consultant surgeons to see data from their own clinical practice on dashboards presenting relevant metrics, including length of stay, re-admissions and re-operations. The information enables consultants to compare themselves against national benchmarks, scrutinise their patient outcomes, and identify potential improvements in their clinical practice to reduce variation in outcomes.

Registered users can log in and access both their individual and unit-level clinical information. Only the registered individual consultant is able to access their individual consultant-level data.

Next steps

Following the urology launch, a phased roll-out into 2024 will open up access to consultant surgeons across a number of other specialties, starting with spinal surgery, paediatric (general & urology) surgery, orthopaedic and vascular surgery by early 2024.

Working closely with national clinical leads and specialty associations, NCIP is developing clinical content for a total of 16 specialties. Future implementation will involve access for surgeons in cardiac surgery, cardiology, ENT, Gynaecology, lower and upper GI, neurosurgery, OMFS, ophthalmology, plastic surgery and burns care and thoracic surgery.

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