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QOF data to be extracted without GPs’ explicit consent

The extraction of GPs’ QOF figures will no longer need the explicit consent of practices, despite the GPES’s own information governance principles stating the extractions will always be an opt-in system.

An update from the Health and Social Care Information Centre explains that practices will not have to confirm the extraction of end of year QOF figures, but that other data extracted by the GP Extraction Service, such as that associated with the NHS diabetic retinopathy screening programme or the CCG Outcome Indicator Set, will still require GP sign-off.

It explained that this is currntly only for the 2014/15 end of year extractions, but also admitted that the opt-out system being implemented was against the current guidance outlined in the GPES information governance principles.

In an alert sent to GPs, the HSCIC said: ‘The GPES Information Governance principles state that practices will always be asked to opt in to each extraction that is proposed to run on their data.’

However, it adds: ‘General practices that wish to participate in QOF need take no action in the GP Extraction Scheme (GPES); the data will be taken automatically. A notification message will appear in the user interface of general practice clinical software solutions that offers the “opt out” option.’

The HSCIC will give a more detailed explanation of the rationale for this change in an update in March, but explained that using an opt-out mechanism was the ‘simplest’ and ‘most efficient’ solution for processing practices’ end of year QOF payments.

It added: ‘We believe that this is the simplest and most efficient solution to facilitate the end of year QOF payment process for general practices.’