'Harm free' care
The NHS Safety Thermometer is a local improvement tool for measuring, monitoring and analysing patient harms and 'harm free' care. The areas measured were selected because they are common, and clinical consensus exists that they are largely preventable through appropriate patient care. All indicators based on safety reporting need to be treated with caution, as reporting rates can vary between sites and over time. In some senses a higher level of incident reporting may be a good indicator of a more positive attitude towards safety issues.
Developed for the NHS by the NHS, the Safety Thermometer is a point of care method for surveying patient harms and analysing results to measure and monitor improvement and harm free care over time.
From July 2012, data collected using the NHS Safety Thermometer is part of the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (QUINN) payment programme. This incentivises the collection of data on patient harm using the NHS Safety Thermometer to survey all relevant patients in all relevant NHS providers in England one day each month.
One year's worth of data is available so more rigorous time series analysis is only possible with future data releases.