Important changes to the Provider Information Return (PIR)
Healthcare providers used to have to complete the PIR after a request by CQC and it was a signal that an inspection was supposed to happen within two weeks. This put the pressure on to drop everything and complete the PIR.
CQC are now taking a more rolling approach with a new system, currently being referred to as the “Provider Information Collection” (PIC). The PIC will no longer be an annual “snapshot” or pre-inspection questionnaire, but an on-going monitoring tool. We are told that providers will have to complete the PIC in full once a year. However, you may be asked to update parts of it more frequently by your inspector. It is not clear how long they will give you to do this.
Although it is more than a pre-inspection questionnaire, inspectors will continue to use the PIC in the planning of inspections. CQC have said that it is a chance to show how your service is doing. We understand that the questions are not necessarily domain-specific.
The new PIC remains electronic, but CQC have indicated that it will be easier to use than the PIR. The PIC started being used in October on a limited basis. The feedback we have had so far from providers has been positive.
With CQC having to cope with budgetary constraints, this may be a move towards more self-reporting and more “efficient” data collection. It is also highly likely that the information will be shared with commissioners.
On the positive side, rather than being triggered by an email from CQC, providers will be able to access the PIC and update it at any time, not only when it is requested. This will give you more control and more time to complete it.
The technology has also apparently improved and you should be able to print out copies, which may be useful if you wish to discuss it or share it within your organisation. This could be a useful learning tool and help you prepare your staff for an inspection.
This new PIC does (unfortunately) come with a health warning: If you do not complete the PIC, your rating for the well-led domain will be limited to “requires improvement”. Unfortunately, as with many aspects of regulation, there is a sting in the tail.