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Practical Commissioning's Jargon Buster explains the meaning of the term 'HRG4'.

The new Healthcare Resource Group version 4 went live in 2009 and is seen as a double-edged sword.

HRG is the set of codes hospitals use to label an episode of patient care and a tariff is applied to each code to allow a cost to be worked out for each hospital visit or stay.

The previous HRG version 3.5 had 650 codes – the new version 4 has 2,500 codes with commentators saying the increased number of codes will create more scope for miscoding. Coding problems are a big issue for practice-based commissioning.

The introduction of HRG4 has enabled the unbundling of tariffs for the following nine services – radiology, rehabilitation, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, renal dialysis, critical care, high-cost drugs, specific palliative care and interventional radiology – the thinking being this will allow more care to be delivered in community settings.