Province developing new health data platform to better respond to COVID-19


Published April 12, 2020 at 8:42 pm


The Ontario government says it is developing a new health data platform in an attempt to better detect, plan, and respond to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR), the platform will reportedly hold secure health data that will allow researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness, including the immediate need to analyze the current outbreak.

“Better access to integrated data will improve modelling and research to determine how COVID-19 is evolving, ensuring frontline staff are as prepared as possible in these unprecedented times,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.

According to the province, the information gathered in the platform will help break down long-standing barriers and allow researchers to help with increasing detection of COVID-19, discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations, predicting when and where outbreaks may happen, evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working, and identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.

“While access to data is important, we are taking all measures to ensure patient privacy is always respected and Ontarians are aware of how anonymized information may be shared,” said Elliott.

When launched, PANTHR will reportedly provide access to data on publicly funded administrative health services records, including:

  • Physician claims submitted to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP)
  • Medical drug claims submitted to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program
  • Discharge summaries of hospital stays and emergency department visits
  • Claims for home care and long-term care

“PANTHR will also contain clinical data from special registry collections, such as the Critical Care Information System (CCIS), which reports on critical care capacity in the province, and clinical data extracted from public health, hospital, laboratory and diagnostic imaging information systems,” the government said in a statement.

“Other supporting data may also be added based on needs of researchers in achieving COVID-19 objectives.”

The province says it will appoint a PANTHR special advisor and form a roundtable to provide recommendations while the platform is developed.

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