HES data includes patient level data on hospital admissions, outpatient appointments and A&E attendances for all NHS trusts in England. It covers acute hospitals, mental health trusts and other providers of hospital care. HES includes information about private patients treated in NHS hospitals, patients who were resident outside England and care delivered by treatment centres (including those in the independent sector) funded by the NHS.
Healthcare providers collect administrative and clinical information locally to support the care of the patient. This data is submitted to the SUS to enable hospitals to be paid for the care they deliver. HES is created from SUS to enable further secondary use of this data.
HES is the data source for a wide range of healthcare analysis used by a variety of people including the NHS, government, regulators, academic researchers, the media and members of the public.
HES is a unique data source, whose strength lies in the richness of detail at patient level going back to 1989 for Admitted Patient Care (APC) episodes, 2003 for outpatient appointments and 2007 for A&E attendances. HES data includes:
- specific information about the patient, such as age, gender and ethnicity
- clinical information about diagnoses, operations and consultant specialties
- administrative information, such as time waited, and dates and methods of admission and discharge
- geographical information such as where the patient was treated and the area in which they live.
The principal benefits of HES are in its use to:
- monitor trends and patterns in NHS hospital activity
- assess effective delivery of care and provide the basis for national indicators of clinical quality
- support NHS and parliamentary accountability
- inform patient choice
- provide information on hospital care within the NHS for the media
- determine fair access to health care
- develop, monitor and evaluate government policy
- reveal health trends over time
- support local service planning.