Overview

The Patient Safety Thermometer is a data collection tool used for measuring, monitoring and analysing patient harms and ‘harm free’ care, developed by the NHS for the NHS.

There are five Patient Safety Thermometer collection tools that are available to use:

  • Classic
  • Medications
  • Mental Health
  • Maternity, and
  • Children & Young People’s Services.

This Document sets out the ‘Publication and Data Access’ scheme for the Safety Thermometer programme.

Data collected by the Safety Thermometer tools are collated and made available in monthly publications for analysis at local, regional and national level.

 

Purpose of the data publications

The Patient Safety Thermometer data collection and publication is classified as a management information dataset.

The tool is intended as a ‘temperature check’ of harm and is designed to allow the monitoring of improvement over time by provider organisations. The data collection is intended to be carried out at the point of care and to focus attention on the most common patient harms and their reduction and elimination. The concept of Harm Free Care was designed to put an emphasis on the patient’s overall experience of safe care rather than a focus on individual harms. Patients are assessed in their care settings at the time of measurement. The Patient Safety Thermometer is therefore a ‘point of care’ measurement instrument which provides point prevalence data.

The data is published to be used by organisations to support quality initiatives, most commonly local improvement within organisations providing health and care. Data is also used by CCGs and CSUs in quality improvement programmes and may be relevant to the monitoring of local agreements.

Publication of all organisations’ data allows organisations to learn from each other and support improvement. It is not intended to support remote judgments about safety or performance or to support third parties to compare the quality of care between organisations.

Safety thermometer data is used by the Care Quality Commission.

Safety Thermometer Data is used in the Medicines Optimisation dashboard managed by the Medicines Optimisation Intelligence Group.

The following is a link providing further information regarding the dashboard: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2015/05/mo-dashboard/

 

Attribution

Using charts from the online tools:

The suggested attribution format is :

- NHS Safety Thermometer: www.safetythermometer.nhs.uk– [name of ST collection] - [Dashboard/view name] - [measure] - [filter] - [date accessed]

Example:

- NHS Safety Thermometer: www.safetythermometer.nhs.uk – ‘Classic’ – Pareto Chart – all organisations - 1 April 2017

Using data from the Publication Dataset:

The Suggested attribution format is :

- NHS Safety Thermometer: www.safetythermometer.nhs.uk – [name of ST collection] - [Dataset / export name] - [publication period]

Example:

- NHS Safety Thermometer : www.safetythermometer.nhs.uk – Classic - Patient Level Export – April 2016 - April 2017 dataset.

If you have used more than one dataset please list the datasets used E.g.:

- NHS Safety Thermometer : www.safetythermometer.nhs.uk – Classic - Patient Level Export – April 2015 - April 2016 dataset & April 2016 - April 2017 dataset.

Patient Safety Thermometer data is provided by NHS Improvement who should be cited as such wherever relevant.

 

Publication Format

Data from the Patient Safety Thermometer tools has been published since its inception in 2010. Different products have been provided at different points of the Patient Safety Thermometer lifetime, by different organisations. These are outlined below:

 

Prior to 1st April 2017

Prior to 1st April 2017, Data has been made available for the Classic Patient Safety Thermometer by NHS Digital and for the Medications, Mental Health, Maternity and Children & Young People’s Services by Haelo.

Data has been available in a variety of formats to support the purposes outlined above.

For the Classic Collection the following publications are available monthly:

  • National Safety Thermometer Tool: This is a macro enabled Excel tool that allows the filtering by various fields and presents a number of views of the data in tabular and graphical formats. The contains de-identified patient level data generated from the survey Data set
  • Harm Tables: This is a set of tables containing aggregate organisational level data
  • Patient Level Export: this is a de-identified patient level data set generated from the survey data set measures are separated into individual columns, each row is an individual record.
  • Quality report : aggregate organisational level data
  • Survey Data : this is a de-identified patient level dataset, data is formatted in the ST data file format.

Each monthly Publication dataset contains the latest 13 months of data

For the Medications, Mental Health, Maternity and Children & Young People’s Services collections data is available in a downloadable interactive dashboard tools. The dashboard tools are macro enabled Excel tools that enable filtering by various fields and presents a number of views of the data in tabular and graphical formats. These contain de-identified patient level data generated from the survey data set. These have been updated monthly containing all data collected since the beginning of the collections.

 

Post 1st April 2017

Post 1st April 2017 Data all Patient Safety Thermometer Collections shall be made available by the South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit on behalf of NHS Improvement.

NHS Improvement is the Data Controller for the Safety Thermometer tools.

South, Central and West Commissioning Support Unit is a data processor.

Patient Safety Thermometer dataset publications will be made available in a more standardised way across all the thermometer tools.

Data from the all tools will be made available in the following formats:

  • Online tools : these tools allow the filtering by various fields and present a number of views of the data in tabular and graphical formats. Data will be exportable at the filtered level with tabular or graphical views available. These will be generated from the patient level export.
  • Patient Level Export: this is a de-identified patient level data set generated from the survey data set. This will be made available monthly from the submitted data.
  • Classic Thermometer Survey Data Export : this will continue to be provided as is to ensure backwards compatibility with local tools and systems that may have been developed to use this format. This is a de-identified patient level dataset, data is formatted in the ST data file format.

Each monthly Publication dataset contains the latest 13 months of data

These are made available in a de-identified form.

 

Risk of re-identification of the patient level data set

The risk of re-identification of an individual from the datasets has been reviewed and assessed as very low / very unlikely.

The risks of re-identification from Patient Safety Thermometer data have been reviewed as follows:

    • NHS Digital, Disclosure Panel : Sample suppression review January 2014:
      • Risk of identification :- Low only possible if you have existing knowledge of the patient
      • Publication Dataset excludes free text notes fields.

 

  • NHS Improvement / South Central and West CSU : review April 2017
    • No change to assessed risk level, formal Data Protection Privacy Impact Assessment (DPIA) reviewed.
    • It was decided that publication/export data formats should be made consistent between Thermometer collections.
    • To reduce data file size and consistency of reporting calculated metrics and measures it was decided to work to move reporting from excel dashboard tools into online tools, this would also give longer term efficiency gains in the processing and preparation of datasets.
    • Review of presented measures to be undertaken.
    • Patient Level Export to be provided for Medications, Mental Health, Maternity and Children & Young people’s Services collections data in the same format as Classic collection as the purpose and requirements are the same across all datasets.
    • Publication datasets to exclude any free text/ notes fields

Risk & Publication will be reassessed on an annual basis.

Next risk review due April 2018

 

Data Access and Adhoc Processing Requests

Adhoc Data processing:

Bespoke adhoc data processing may be available upon request; requests will be assessed on an individual basis.

Requests which may require large resources to process that would impact on the day to day operational activities of the Safety Thermometer programme may be subject to cost recovery. Access to non published Data items:

If you have a requirement for data items that are not included in the published dataset, we recommend these are requested directly from the organisations of which you are interested in.

  • The organisational administrators may be able to provide that to you.

You are also able to request the data from the Safety Thermometer Support team This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , all requests will be assessed on and individual basis.

  • Organisational administrators may be consulted for their approval before a request is authorised.
  • If you are requesting data for a number or group of organisations we would recommend you seek approvals from the organisations’ administrators prior to submitting a request.
  • Provision of access to an organisation’s data on this website as a viewer or higher is considered approval by that organisation for access to the full dataset