Peer pressure within CCGs has been touted as a “vital trick” for engaging practices and generating thousands of pounds worth of savings.
Dr Rod Smith, Vice Chair of the North and West Reading CCG, said the open publication of practice and individual GP performance made available to all CCG members has led to the creation of a “community feel”.
“We show charts of how GPs are performing against their peers and let them get on with it,” he said.
“We are not telling them what to do, we are just giving them the facts.”
Dr Smith told MiP all ten practices involved in the North and West Reading CCG have “responded effectively” to the open data, resulting in cost savings in every practice.
Collectively, the CCG has slashed its x-ray costs by 20% during the past ten months, with one practice achieving a 40% reduction.
Dr Smith also attributes a £200,000 fall in prescribing costs in one practice as a “beneficial consequence” of the peer pressure instilled by the transparent nature of CCG data.
“The sharing of data focuses GPs and the savings generated are a by-product of people not wanting to be outliers in performance charts,” he said.
“Through encouragement, practices will see reductions in costs as beneficial consequences.
“I wouldn’t want to tell other CCGs how to run their affairs but it is quite a useful trick to bring people together.”
The sharing of practice data within CCGs follows the publication of outcome reporting in surgical specialties, such as cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery and orthopaedics.
Such practices have led to an improvement in patient outcomes and surgical standards, according to Professor Michael Horrocks, Royal College of Surgeons Lead for Commissioning.
“Clinicians are very competitive and so having access to data about performance will only serve to drive up standards,” he said.
With a patient population of over 106,00, the North and West Reading CCG is preparing to take full control of a £100m commissioning budget in April 2013.
By Louise Naughton