Mark SayManaging EditorWednesday 14 February 2018

NHS Improvement works on new patient safety system

Organisation aims to replace existing NRLS system with one designed to be ‘more appropriate’ for modern healthcare delivery

NHS Improvement has outlined plans of its work on a new digital system to support patient safety.

Doctor with patientThe organisation, which is responsible for supporting NHS bodies in improving patient care, has said it has plans to replace the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) and Strategic Executive Information System (STEIS) with a successor that can do more in terms of data collection and analysis and the sharing of learning.

It is currently developing a new Patient Safety Incident Management System (PSIMS), with the alpha phase due to be complete by the end of March, and has now gone to the market for support in the beta phase. It is aiming to move to beta in early May.

The procurement notice says the NRLS has been improved over time but does not effectively meet requirements, and that the new system will use new technologies and be more appropriate for the way healthcare is now delivered.

Expected capabilities

Among its capabilities will be data capture from local risk management systems and online forms, a data pipeline to prepare it for analysis, and the ability to take on NHS Improvement’s reviews of patient safety incidents.

The NRLS was set up in 2003, receives more than 2 million reports per year and contains a total of 17.5 million records. The information is used to identify hazards and risks to patient care, and any opportunities for improvements.

A proposal to replace it was first made in November 2015, but progress has been slow. In late 2016 the Care Quality Commission published a study, reported by Digital Health Intelligence, that included a criticism that NHS have often been confused by the existence of different information systems, such as the NRLS and STEIS, for reporting deaths.

This article was amended on 22 February on receipt of fresh information from NHS Improvement

Image from ICO, Open Government Licence v3.0