NICE indicators measure the quality of care a person receives and the impact this has on their health.

They are designed to collect information on the quality of care being provided at both national and local levels. This helps us to recognise, and focus on improvements that could be made.

We develop indicators for general practice (GP) and for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). These are currently being used in a range of national indicator frameworks including the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) and the Clinical Commissioning Group Improvement and Assessment Framework (CCG IAF).

In addition to these national schemes, we are working with local organisations to help them use NICE indicators as part of regional improvement programmes.

All of our indicators are:

  • Evidence-based – underpinned by NICE quality standards, NICE guidance or NICE accredited guidance.
  • Independent – developed by an advisory committee, which includes GPs, hospital consultants, public health and social care practitioners, NHS commissioners and lay members.
  • Tested – GP indicators are piloted in around 30 practices to explore and evaluate how they work in real world setting.
  • Collaborative – CCG indicators are developed in collaboration with key stakeholders including NHS Digital and undergo a public consultation

Our indicators aim to help GPs and CCGs:

  • Identify where improvements are needed.
  • Set priorities for quality improvement and support.
  • Create local performance dashboards.
  • Benchmark their performance against national data.
  • Support local quality improvement schemes.
  • Demonstrate progress that local health systems are making on outcomes.

Highlights of 2016-17:

New work from NICE could prevent thousands of people from suffering a stroke

In August 2016, we published indicators that will help GPs and CCGs improve the identification and management of atrial fibrillation (AF) – a common heart condition that causes an irregular heartbeat and increases the risk of stroke.

It is estimated up to 470,000 adults with AF have not been diagnosed so are not getting advice to reduce their risk of stroke.

One of the new NICE indicators will support CCGs to record the number of people who have suffered a stroke and have not been receiving NICE recommended treatment (such as blood thinners) for their AF.

Professor Daniel Keenan, chair of the NICE indicators advisory committe said:

"Effective treatment of atrial fibrillation can be the difference between life and death.

“These indicators will help to identify where people with atrial fibrillation have slipped through the cracks, and are not receiving the best treatment.

“It is only with data that we can properly assess the steps needed to ensure no-one at risk is left unchecked or untreated.”

NICE seeks to support new mothers with mental health problems

In February 2017, we published draft indicators calling on general practice staff to assess the mental health of all women who have recently given birth.

It is estimated that about one in eight women experience anxiety or depression whilst pregnant, and up to one in five do during the first year after childbirth. A recent report by NHS improving quality found that women’s experience of treatment for mental health problems during pregnancy or afterwards was variable.

NICE says that clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) should record how many women with a suspected mental health problem during pregnancy or the postnatal period receive a comprehensive mental health assessment. And if referred, how many of these women then gain access to psychological services within six weeks.

Dr Andrew Black, deputy chair of the NICE indicators advisory committe said:

"GPs play a vital role in helping vulnerable people to get the correct diagnosis and the support they need.

“These NICE indicators could help GPs to identify and support their patients who are most at risk. This can only be a good thing.”

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