Practical Commissioning's Jargon Buster explains the meaning of the term 'Secondary Uses Service'.
The Secondary Uses Service (SUS) is an anonymous data system that reflects both the patient and the care the patient is getting. Or to put it another way, it is about getting data on the total costs involved in treating a patient – not just the clinical care bits.
It provides a consistent environment for the linkage and management of data, allowing better comparison across the care sector, together with associated analysis and reporting tools. IT obviously plays a big part, and SUS is the NHS Information Centre's baby.
It is important for two reasons. First, it enables practices to analyse variations in service use across their patch. Second, in time it could be used by the independent sector to cover all aspects of NHS-commissioned care provided to all sectors.
However, before you start thinking what a wonderful thing SUS is, be warned. Many observers believe the central SUS data system is not fit for purpose and needs radical reform because some acute trusts have failed to enter all relevant data or to ensure accuracy.