The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has deployed a business intelligence system to analyse the opinions expressed by thousands of service users and CQC assessors and inspectors, about the performance of health and social care providers.

The system can automatically extract, categorise and analyse sentiment from the vast quantities of comments about the performance of care homes, hospitals, dentists, and from April 2013, GPs, which the CQC receive direct from the public and their assessors and inspectors across the country.

The initial 18-month contract with military systems provider QinetiQ for the work follows a successful pilot phase undertaken last year, said CQC.

QinetiQ, supported by Autonomy, Okana and TheySay, said it is using decades of experience and expertise developed in the world of military intelligence and security to provide a system "unique to the CQC".

The system is powered by two "software engines" and tailored to process views expressed about the provider, categorised into the CQC’s standards of quality and safety.

CQC said the technology allowed it to quickly assess vast quantities of documents and other information, "by feeding the knowledge and domain expertise of its staff into the system to help it ‘learn’ to analyse information in the way their experts currently do".

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