Our approach

Dr Foster was founded on an idea — that collecting and publishing healthcare information would save lives.

We believe that better information has made the NHS in England a safer, more efficient and more transparent service, and will continue to do so in the future – and that the same principles apply in any health economy in the world.

Our purpose is to use information to improve lives

Our approach is objective, academically rigorous, and transparent. Drawing on our experience of healthcare systems throughout the world and the wider perspective this gives us, we work with clients to help identify and understand variations in performance and their opportunities for improvement.

We engage practitioners and decision-makers to reach a shared understanding of the information and then work to inform and enable the decision-making process, and ensure that subsequent monitoring and evaluation will accurately assess the impact of the changes made. All our products and services are co-created and developed with the clients who will eventually use them.

Identifying and understanding variation in performance between healthcare providers (and variation over time), is at the heart of what we do. Some, but not all, variation is related to quality of care. Some inevitable differences are due to chance, some are due to differences in coding, and some are due to differences in case-mix. Dr Foster considers these alternative explanations of variation and provides a range of indicators covering structure, process and outcome in healthcare to better understand the reasons for variation.

“Eradicating unwarranted clinical variation is the next driver for quality and cost improvement. We are only in the foothills of this opportunity, but it must be led by clinicians, and delivered to improve safety and reliability, with cost reductions dropping out as a by-product.”

Sue James, Chief Executive, Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

What we believe:

  • Comparative information about the quality and efficiency of care is essential to improving healthcare and making it affordable for all
  • Comparative information must be based on open methodologies and data sources so that results are open to scrutiny. The information must be trusted, respected and engaging.
  • Sharing data and information is essential to interpreting it correctly
  • Data accuracy needs to be addressed systematically
  • Lack of access to data and insufficiently accurate recording of data remain obstacles to the effective measurement of quality and efficiency in the NHS and other health systems worldwide
  • Information Governance and Data Security

    Excellence in information governance is at the heart of what we do. We have a legal and ethical responsibility to handle confidential and sensitive information carefully and securely, and we are fully committed to doing that in a way that maximises its utility while preventing unauthorised or inappropriate use or disclosure. We are respectful of the nature of the data we work with, where it comes from and what it means for individuals and organisations.

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  • Our purpose and values

    Our purpose is using information to improve lives. We follow a set of values as our guiding principles to the way we work

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