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Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy Expert Advisory Group Report 3: Toward a world-class health data system

The Canadian College of Health Information Management and CHIMA has joined other thought leaders in an expert advisory group for the Public Health Agency of Canada’s pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy.

“In our first report, we reviewed over 60 years of reports on improving health data use, reflected on systemic barriers that prevent effective data collection, access, sharing and use, and drew attention to Canada’s health data foundation. We noted that despite repeated attempts, there have been failures as a nation to deliver what Canadians deserve. We therefore suggested a bold vision to deliver a learning health system that benefits all persons in Canada guided by common principles that drive the responsible use of health data for the public good. Achieving such a vision will required sustained collective action on the part of many and will require substantial commitment on the part of leaders across the country.

Our second report advised that the health system is evolving from a focus on acute care supported by paper systems to a continuum of care supported by digital systems and that policies and governance need to catch up to this reality. Further, the report suggested that substantial coordinated investment in governance, policy, interoperability, data literacy and public trust is needed to strengthen the health data foundation.

This third and final report of the Expert Advisory Group builds on those recommendations and provides both aspirational and pragmatic advice for developing a world-class, person-centred health data system. This report highlights the excellence and success that parts of Canada have achieved with health data and the opportunities that would come from a culture of collaboration and stewardship that prioritizes scale and re-use.

Our hope is that this report will catalyze practical action for lasting and meaningful change. We recognize that the fundamental challenge we face is not one of technology, rather it is one of culture. We must take the disparate responsibilities for health data stewardship and orient them in a way that moves us toward a more collaborative and person-centred system. This will take time, and we must start now – to shape the future that we want rather than react to change that is brought on by others or new health threats.”

Dr. Vivek Goel, Chair, pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy Expert Advisory Group