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Giovanna Polato Care Quality Commission speaks on using data to identify and follow up outliers

Giovanna PolatoGiovanna Polato

Giovanna Polato Care Quality Commission speaks on Using data to identify and follow up outliers and discusses: 

  • How we use the data supplied to identify and analyse alerts
  • Working with trusts to understand and analyse the data when an alert occurs
  • Case studies and examples from Care Quality Commission

Giovanna said that the aim of the Outliers Programme is to influence improvements in quality of care by monitoring our data and a trigger is a prompt for raising questions, the CQC are not making judgements about an organisation's quality of care or clinical coding.

She said an example of an improvement in an organisations' plan is implementing the seven day hospital with no reduction in services over the weekend.

Giovanna stated in her presentation:

“People’s personal records, including medical records, should be accurate and kept safe and confidential”

People who use services can be confident that:

  • Their personal records including medical records are accurate, it for purpose, held securely and remain confidential
  • Other records required to be kept to protect their safety and wellbeing are maintained and held securely where required

Outlier programme – Aims

  • To seek to influence improvements in quality of care by monitoring outcomes data.
  • Identify potential concerns about quality of care.
  • Respond to similar concerns from external sources.
  • Efficiently establish the level of concern and the focus of the problem.
  • Take appropriate action where concerns remain.

“An outlier or alert is a trigger for raising questions and not a judgement about care quality. It does not reflect risk at face value, but initiates a series of enquiries that help CQC to understand that risk… The process is underpinned by a statistical methodology that ensures results are consistent and defensible.”

What happens when the data are right?

  • Improved ability to
    • to identify and understand differences between organisations.
    • to improve risk adjustment.
    • to identify changes within an organisation.
  • Less time wasted chasing false positives.
  • Better chance of making improvements where they are most needed.


Giovanna has been working in the NHS since 1989 in various posts in hospitals, local and regional intelligence organisations, striving to maximise opportunities to develop and use information, and make it available to as many people and organisations as possible.

Giovanna main areas of expertise cover:

  • Systems design and development
  • Data and information sources knowledge
  • Use, analysis and application of detailed datasets including HES, the MHMDS and others
  • Data linkage, dataset creation and assemblage.

Giovanna has worked with the Healthcare Commission and the Care Quality Commission since 2004, holding various posts in Intelligence as a Team Leader in Statistics & Database Analysis; Screening and Methods; Surveillance; Analysis Development.

Also Giovanna has been involved in setting up, running and analysing the Count Me In Mental Health and Learning Disability Census (BME Census) from 2005 to 2010 and the LD Census 2013.

She has  worked to set up and develop several datasets, including Mental Health Minimum Data Set/Mental Health and Learning  Disabilities Data Set and Maternity and Children's Data Set

Giovanna  has worked on setting up the Outliers programme, and have been an Outlier Panel member throughout, with an advisory role related to data usage and analysis.

And has also been involved in the Mid Staffs Investigation, as well as several inspections as an advisor.

Representing CQC on various Intelligence networks, expert and specialist groups and responsible overall for CQC Data Strategy.

Giovanna  is working on developing the Health and Social Care Quality of Care Data Roadmap for the Informatics Services Commissioning Group (ISCG).

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Events of Interest:

Information Governance Implementing the Government Response to Caldicott2
Wednesday 12 November 2014 
Hallam Conference Centre

Download: Giovanna Polato full presentation

17 October 2014


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