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Extent of diagnostic imaging use in hospitals highlighted by new analysis

October 2, 2013: Two in five patients using hospital services in 2012-13 had a diagnostic imaging procedure as part of their care, first-time data linkage by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows today.

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

Today's new analysis relates to all three main hospital services (admitted patient care, A&E and outpatients) in England and represents the first ever linkage of hospital data (Hospital Episode Statistics) to diagnostic imaging data (Diagnostic Imaging Dataset).

The report offers a starting point to better understanding imaging requirements and outcomes for patients undergoing different procedures in acute care.

It relates to almost 27 million patients (who were present in both the HES and DID datasets) who used an NHS-funded hospital service at least once in 2012/13. The key findings are:

  • Nine million patients were admitted to hospital at least once and of these, five million (58 per cent) had at least one imaging procedure during the year
  • Twelve million patients had at least one accident and emergency attendance and almost six million (around 48 per cent) of these also had at least one imaging procedure during the year
  • Twenty million patients had at least one outpatient appointment and nine million of these patients (45 per cent) had at least one imaging procedure in the year.

The HSCIC aims to build on today's initial findings with a more in-depth report in 2014.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: "Today's report is the latest example of data linkage by the HSCIC, which aims to shed new light on different aspects of activity and outcomes across health and social care, by connecting information together for the first time.

"Through making these connections, linkage has the potential to help drive better treatments and outcomes; offering evidence and context about different patient pathways for commissioners, health and social care professionals, patients and the public."

The report is at:www.hscic.gov.uk/pubs/hesdidlinkoct13

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 130 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. This is the first publication reporting on the linkage between HES and DID data and as such, is published as 'Experimental Statistics'. These are defined as new official statistics undergoing evaluation. They are published in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage.

3. HES contain records of all admissions, outpatient appointments and accident and emergency attendances at NHS hospitals in England. The HSCIC produces a number of publications based on HES data, including provisional monthly releases, which can be found at: www.hscic.gov.uk/hes.

4. DID is a data set which captures information relating to imaging procedures funded by the NHS. This includes details about where the referral came from, patient demographics, type of imaging and key dates in the imaging process. The collection covers imaging events from April 2012. NHS England publishes monthly and annual statistics on DID data which can be accessed at: www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/diagnostic-imaging-dataset/

5. The tables in the report show counts of unique patients unless otherwise stated. A single patient may make multiple uses of any or all three of the hospital services covered in this report.

6. For media enquiries or interview requests please contact the press office on 0845 257 6990 or media@hscic.gov.uk.

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