Patient-level costing

I was doing a theatre (operating room) list the other day, which I felt was under-utilised – two relatively minor operations. I thought, ‘we must be making a loss on this list’. I tried to find out what the revenue was for the list and what the costs were. It is theoretically possible to find out the tariff for each procedure, but surprising difficult to do. What was even more difficult were the costs. These are fixed ones, like overheads (and in the NHS, salaries), and variable ones depending on things like disposables used. What surprised me was, not so much that the information had to be tracked down manually and was probably inaccurate, but that there was little interest shown by any of the ‘managers’ (Theatre and Directorate-level) in helping me! I asked some IT colleagues at CSC if this was the sort of thing that CSC could help with, and they explained about Patient-Level and Information Costing Systems (PLICS). Unfortunately, we don’t have any development partners in the NHS to work with on this. Does anyone have any information relating to PLICS? Essentially, it means integrating financial, administrative and clinical systems and ‘overlaying’ a business intelligence layer.

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