Identification and handling of outlier institutions

The publication of material involving comparative data where ‘outliers’ are identified can be a challenging situation. These pages aim to assist those involved in preparing such outputs and to ensure a common approach across the National Cancer Intelligence Network.

Increasing numbers of the outputs (reports, data, websites) made available by the NCIN enable organisations to be compared on both process and outcome measures, whether at an international, national or local level. Although such outputs are clearly in line with the purpose of the NCIN and with the Government’s commitment to openness, transparency and comparability, their publication needs to be handled appropriately, in order to assure that the messages are not diluted or compromised.

The Department of Health (England, DH) and the National Advisory Group on Clinical Audit and Enquiries (NAGCAE) have published guidance on the detection and management of outliers in clinical audit. The NCIN's approach to the handling of outliers has been developed from this guidance and experience within the network of dealing with these issues. The approach described below recognises that flexibility is required to account for different circumstances and therefore provides set of principles to be followed rather than a detailed procedure to cover every eventuality. The NCIN co-ordinating team can advise on planning for the handling of outliers and may be able to assist with the management of the process.

Information is available on:

A data briefing summarising this information in a single document is also available.