The NHS Comparators website scooped the Best use of Information award at the annual ASSIST awards.

Jointly developed by the NHS Information Centre and NHS Connecting for Health, the website was voted for by delegates at the awards event, which acknowledges the initiatives making the biggest difference to health and social care.

Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: "I am very pleased that NHS Comparators has been recognised as an invaluable application to help frontline NHS staff use practice-based commissioning to best effect.

"It provides the information practices need to review their activity, see how it compares with others locally and nationally and to make decisions about which of their services they can target for review and redesign.

"The addition of 18-week indicators and provider comparators makes the service even more valuable."

Developed as part of the secondary uses service programme, NHS Comparators enables practices to see how the way they commission services and refer patients compares with other practices locally and nationally.

The site automatically flags up areas where practices and primary care trusts are referring patients in a way that differs markedly from the norm. The purpose of the application is to encourage practices to identify areas of care where they could usefully review their approach to referring patients into secondary care.

It also allows them to see how the amount they spend on patients with particular conditions compares with other practices.

It focuses on a number of areas, including ear, nose and throat; trauma and orthopaedics; dermatology; urology; gynaecology; general surgery; coronary heart disease; asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and diabetes.