The NHS information strategy requires the use of the NHS number as the unique identifier for all patients and service users in health and social care. Since the NHS Identifier Bill of March 2015, this is now a legal requirement, and the NHS standard contract for 2015-2016 stipulates high compliance levels of 95% or 99% in different settings.
It is therefore essential for providers to capture patient NHS numbers with very high success rates, in spite of typical shortfalls in their demographic data quality. These shortfalls can reduce first-try success rates to as low as 60%.
The best way to achieve high rates of NHS number capture (without expensive manual cleansing of demographic data quality) is to use Spine Mini-Services, through our SMSP product. SMSP allows search criteria to be loosened on a patient-by-patient basis, using wild cards to achieve high match rates even in the presence of common errors in demographic data. Our SMSP web client supports this process though a simple, intuitive user interface:
The SMSP gives immediate turnaround on any search, allowing rapid experimentation to achieve high rates of NHS number capture. When a match is found, the demographic data returned from the spine can be used to correct your local demographic data, or extend its coverage (with fields such as GP practice details or date of death).
However, the manual tweaking of search conditions takes time and effort, and requires skill and motivation from the user. Time can be saved and results can be improved by the use of our Smart+Search technology, which automates the process of re-trying searches with wild cards.
Smart+Search automatically steps through a series of SMSP searches until it finds a match, requiring no user intervention. The sequence of searches for each patient depends on their demographic data and on the results of previous searches for that patient, in a way that can be readily tuned to get the best results for any organisation’s data set. Thus SMSP with Smart+Search gives the best of all worlds:
There is no better way for you to meet the challenge of high-coverage NHS number capture, while also improving the quality of your demographic data. SMSP with Smart+Search is the best solution, now and in the future.