For the next stage of healthcare improvement, better and more timely use of information is not just important, it is vital.

Health minister Lord Darzi’s next stage review has placed great emphasis on the quality of healthcare and on the outcomes for patients. These things cannot merely be asserted - they must be measured, compared and published. The quality of care must inform the decision-making of commissioners and the remuneration of providers.

The measurement of quality in healthcare is an emerging science. It will need to proceed with care, and to bring the confidence of the clinical community with it. But it is the way of the future.

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