Moving Forward on a Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy
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About the Strategy
COVID-19 has highlighted issues that make it a challenge to collect, share, and use health data for the benefit of Canadians. 'Health data' includes public health, health system and population health data.
Reliable, timely and relevant public health data are crucial to help public health officials provide their best advice in public health emergencies. Good health data also leads to improvements in health outcomes for Canadians in the longer term. Health data is collected and shared now, but there are important gaps.
The Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy will focus on strengthening the health data foundations. Governments could implement it in stages according to health sector priorities and focus on:
- modernizing health data collection, sharing and interoperability
- streamlining and updating the approach to privacy and access for the digital age
- clarifying accountability and health data governance to bring meaningful change in the way governments share health data.
To create the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy (PCHDS), the Government of Canada is collaborating with provinces and territories, and reaching out to stakeholders and Indigenous groups.
What Has Been Done So Far?
The way governments collect and manage health data in Canada is improving, in response to COVID-19. As part of the Safe Restart Agreement between provinces/territories and the federal government, the Government of Canada provided funding to improve and modernize data management across Canada.
The COVID-19 Health Data and Evidence Virtual Library is an example of a secure and trusted health data-focussed project that is helping Canada respond to COVID-19. You can find more information on the short term health data priorities established to respond to COVID-19 in Canada.
Building the Strategy: A Way Forward
The development of the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy (PCHDS) is informed by:
- the latest research findings;
- advice from public health and data experts and interested Canadians; and
- the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy Expert Advisory Group.
Health data partners will work together to analyse and describe how to improve health data management. Learning from COVID-19, the Strategy will help improve health data collection, standardization, and use -- all while respecting and protecting privacy. It will focus on solving longer-term health data problems so that your health data can work better for you.
By working together now, we can benefit from past efforts, and create a common path. Timely and accurate health data can:
- guide investments in health care;
- help governments to respond to public health events; and
- achieve equitable, better health outcomes for Canadians.
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