Driven by data

An approach powered by data can support clinicians and services to enable better patient outcomes and future service delivery. Dr Jon Room explains more

Feature FLL March 2024 driven by data

Collecting, using, and sharing high-quality data is an integral part of delivering high-value healthcare. This was demonstrated by the development of the Hip Fracture standards and the Physiotherapy Hip Fracture Sprint Audit (PHFSA). This audit ran for six months in 2017 and captured a high volume of data on rehabilitation pathways for hip fracture patients over 60. This data was then linked to the National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD) to understand the whole patient pathway. 

Another great resource, which the Association of Trauma and Orthopaedic Chartered Physiotherapists (ATOCP) is keen to highlight to all CSP members, is the National Joint Registry (NJR). 

What is the NJR?

The National Joint Registry was established in 2002. Hosted by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), it is an orthopaedic registry that collects data across England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and Guernsey. It records data on various joint replacement surgery, including hips, knees, ankles, shoulders, and elbows. It is the largest such registry in the world. 

How does the NJR work? 

Departments and hospitals which undertake joint replacement surgery submit data about operations to the NJR. This includes data about the surgery (including details of the implants used) and patient demographics. The NJR manages and analyses the data. This allows for monitoring the outcomes of different types of joint replacement surgery, helping to drive improvement. 

Data collected over the lifetime of the registry is outlined in an annual report published by the NJR, and in bespoke reports for every participating NHS and independent sector hospital. 

How might this be of use to my department? 

We all want data to help inform the decisions that we make. The NJR provides easy access to significant amounts of data related to orthopaedic surgery. This can include implant type, surgical technique, patient demographics, post-operative complications, and outcomes. 

Physiotherapists and support workers who work in orthopaedics will find lots of useful data on hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, and elbow replacement surgery.  This can be accessed by downloading the NJR’s annual report, or by requesting access to the NJR’s suite of online reporting via your hospital’s NJR data manager. 

Access to this data could help in all sorts of ways, from planning clinical services, treatment planning, risk assessments, service evaluations, audits, to education and research projects.  The NJR annual report can also be viewed online at reports for joint registry.  

Elaine Young, NJR director of operations says: ‘The NJR has been collecting and reporting data on joint replacement surgery for the last 20 years and is regarded as a global exemplar of an implantable device registry. 

‘We value the role of physiotherapists in the treatment of patients having joint replacement surgery and are keen to make NJR data available to therapists to support evidence-based improvement work within services.’

The data and reports available have always been a helpful resource and ATOCP hope one that day we can see rehabilitation data collected, recorded and analysed in a similar way.

You can find out more about collecting additional meaningful data in physio services from this page on the website.

The mission of the NJR is to:‘…collect and analyse high quality and relevant data about joint replacement surgery in order to provide timely warnings of issues relating to patient safety.

In a continuous drive to improve patient outcomes and to ensure the quality and value of joint replacement surgery, we will monitor and report on outcomes, and enable and support related orthopaedic research.’

Dr Jon Room is a senior lecturer in physiotherapy at Oxford Brookes University, and also works in a clinical and research role at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. 


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