Skip to content

13 October 2022

Back to news

Healthcode data shows private hospitals making up for lost time

Insured activity in private hospitals up to the end of September 2022 was 6.7% higher than the same period in 2021 and 12% up on 2019, according to Healthcode. The official clearing organisation for the private healthcare sector released their latest analyses of hospital billing volumes which revealed inpatient and outpatient numbers are at or above pre-pandemic levels.

Private hospitals have bounced back following the severe downturn caused by the pandemic and lockdown in 2020. This recovery could already be seen in 2021 when 3.17million invoices were processed by Healthcode’s Clearing Service, up 40% on 2020 but momentum has continued into 2022 when more insured patients than ever received the specialist care they needed.

Healthcode’s Managing Director, Peter Connor, said: “Our data has tracked the story of the pandemic within private hospitals from the low of lockdown to resilient recovery to the resurgence of this year. And the heroes of this story are the consultants, healthcare professionals and managers in hospitals across the UK who have worked tirelessly to turn things around for patients. In the specialty of radiology, for example, year on year billing volumes increased by more than half in September 2022 meaning more patients could learn their diagnosis or receive essential therapeutic treatment.

“I have no doubt that demand for safe, high quality private healthcare will continue to increase in the years ahead and Healthcode will do our utmost to support that through the development of online services such as The PPR (Private Practice Register), pre-authorisation and real-time appointment booking.”

Here are the headlines from Healthcode’s latest analysis:

Episode setting

  • Outpatient care represents 84% of hospital activity, up from 81% in 2019. Billing for these episodes made a strong recovery after the pandemic although this has levelled out this year and remains consistently above 2019 levels (117% in September 2022).
  • After a slower recovery, inpatient activity surpassed 2019 in four of the last five months. The long term trend is for inpatient episodes to become a smaller proportion of hospital activity.

Medical speciality

  • Orthopaedics and trauma remains the top hospital specialty by volume but the level of insured activity has not increased since 2019. In September 2022, the insured bill volume (47K) was slightly down on 2021 (49K) and the average volume for Q3 2022 was also slightly down on pre-pandemic level (98%).
  • Radiology saw the biggest year on year rise in billing volumes (38K in September 2022 compared with 24k in September 2021). Average billing volumes for Q3 were more than double those in 2019 (213%).
  • Pathology/haematology which had surged in the pandemic fell back to 20K in September 2022, compared with 22K in September 2021 although billing volumes still far exceeded 2019 (163% in Q3).
  • In the other major medical specialties, insured billing volumes were slightly higher in September than 2019. The exception was ENT (99%) reflecting a slower rate of recovery in this specialty.

Countries and regions

  • England has seen continued steady growth. Volumes in September 2022 was 114% vs 2019 (113% on average in Q3).
  • By contrast, Wales’s recovery has lagged behind the other UK countries. Volumes for September 2022 were 94% of 2019 (97% for Q3). In Scotland, volumes were 109% of 2019 in September 2022 (105% in Q3).
  • North West England had the strongest showing of the English regions. Billing volumes in September 2022 were 120% vs 2019 (119% for Q3). In London, billing volumes vs 2019 were 117% in September 2022 (113% for Q3).
  • Yorkshire and Humber was static compared with the rest of the English regions. Billing volumes were unchanged from 2019 in September (102% for Q3).

Related Articles

A million in May – private healthcare beats monthly invoice record say Healthcode

Healthcode processed more than 1million healthcare invoices to insurers in a single month for the first time in May as a record number of patients

Read full story

The healthcare technology provider of the year award goes to… Healthcode

Healthcode have triumphed at this year’s HealthInvestor Awards which celebrate achievement in the health and social care sector.

Read full story

Healthcode helps private healthcare sector achieve a record year

Private healthcare providers sent 10.2million invoices to insurers through Healthcode’s online Clearing Service in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 20% which brought in more than

Read full story