Active Projects

Embedding Patient-level Information and costing Systems in the Health System: Implementing and Using PLICS

The Department of Health (DH) is currently introducing a new cost accounting method in NHS trusts, known as patient-level information and costing system (PLICS).

Project Facts

Start date: September 2009
End date: June 2011
Investigators Professor James Barlow
Staff Employed Dr. Anja Kern, Professor Chris Chapman
Status Active

Project Partners

  • Department of Health/NHS Peter Donnelly
  • Case study sites: 4 NHS trusts; Interviewees

Project Partners

Imperial College Business School
Tanaka Building
South Kensington Campus
London SW7 2AZ
E: a.kern(at)imperial(dot)ac(dot)uk

This new method has the objective not only to improve the quality of cost data, but to improve significantly the quality of health care. Shifting the question from where costs are produced to wherefore they are produced, the focus is on the efficiency and quality of actual health care processes rather than on units or departments. However first experiences show that some trusts failed to complete the implementation process and others, having implemented PLICS, struggle to transform it into an effective management tool.

If individual behaviours may be at the origin of some of these failures, other failures may be linked to system-wide factors: the traditional vertical management structure of the NHS may be resistant to attempts to introduce elements allowing a horizontal perspective. The NHS would benefit from conceptual guidance on and access to critical variables of the initial PLICS implementation, subsequent PLICS-use and their link with wider systemic factors. But currently there is little conceptual guidance systematizing these critical aspects.