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Canada's health information system shows high data quality 

Paul Newman

February 28, 2013

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For the past 15 years, Canada's healthcare sector has been using the Resident Assessment Instrument, and during the transition period, the Canadian Institute for Health Information has served as a data repository. Managed by the Continuing Care Reporting System (CCRS), the storage platform that was launched in 2003 and 2004 and holds various types of information about patients in long-term care homes or hospitals in Canada. 

These platforms provide information about individuals' clinical conditions and demographics to help physicians develop care plans, improve quality and manage funding and accountability. 

A recent evaluation reveals the organizations involved are on their way toward those efforts because the CCRS showed consistently high data quality when considering whether content was accurate, reliable and valid across two settings. Both Complex Continuing Care (CCC) and Long Term Care (LTCH) facilities were studied using statistical analysis techniques and their recording systems revealed better data quality than in previous audits.

There is vast potential for big data in healthcare, but only if the industry as a whole, and institutions individually, commit to upholding the quality of the information they put into electronic systems. With great data quality, they can spot patterns in diseases and links between patients and effective treatments, which might not otherwise have been discovered. On the other hand, poor information can lead them astray or even result in negative consequences for patients.  

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