Every day, thousands of Canadians receive primary health care (PHC) services, usually through a nurse practitioner, a general practitioner or a family physician. PHC is an important source of chronic disease prevention and management. It may involve health professionals such as nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, dietitians, physiotherapists and social workers.
This type of care typically involves
Primary Health Care Information program
One of CIHI’s newest programs is the Primary Health Care Information program. Its goal is to make PHC data available to stakeholders and to collaborate with key stakeholders across the country to address priority information needs. A major focus of this program is improving PHC electronic medical record (EMR) data sources across Canada. This focus includes data solutions (development and implementation of standards) and information solutions (indicators and analyses) that can be used to
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PHC Voluntary Reporting System (EMR data source)
The PHC Voluntary Reporting System is an EMR data source that was developed as a prototype project to support a broad range of health system uses. The program currently collects EMR data in the areas of
As part of this program, we are collaborating with the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network, a pan-Canadian chronic disease sentinel surveillance network being developed by primary care research networks in collaboration with the College of Family Physicians of Canada with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Enhancing existing data sources
For patient and provider surveys, we increased sample sizes and aligned survey questions with our PHC indicators. Enhanced survey sources include
Ontario Primary Care Performance Measurement Initiative
In 2012, HQO and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in collaboration with their partners, held an invitational meeting of senior leaders from key primary care data partners and information users in Ontario. This meeting, the Ontario Primary Care Performance Measurement Summit, resulted in: the preliminary identification of primary care performance measurement priorities in Ontario; and commitment from participating organizations to engage in ongoing collaborative work on primary care performance measurement.
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Pan-Canadian primary health care indicators
In 2006, CIHI released 105 pan-Canadian PHC indicators, which were identified through a consensus process as being necessary to measure and compare PHC performance at multiple levels within and across jurisdictions in Canada.
Building on this, in 2012, CIHI updated two suites of indicators—one to meet the needs of policy-makers and health system managers and the other to meet the needs of PHC providers. Broad stakeholder consultations were undertaken to ensure that the updated indicator definitions were developed in alignment with an identified data source, consistent with current clinical guidelines and reflected important aspects of PHC.
Pan-Canadian primary health care EMR content standard
Working with jurisdictions and Canada Health Infoway, CIHI led the development and release of a common and agreed-upon PHC EMR content standard in early 2011. This pan-Canadian standard is increasingly being used in EMR applications to support PHC delivery and improved health system management.
Pan-Canadian primary health care survey questions and tools
CIHI worked with survey experts from across the country to develop a core set of primary health care survey questions and supporting survey instruments. This effort drew on existing survey questions in use in Canada and internationally.
While coordinated by CIHI, this work was led by survey experts and informed and influenced by future users of the tools. Our goal is to develop and release a core set of pan-Canadian primary health care patient, provider and practice survey questions and supporting tools for a broad range of users.
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Three technical reports on the survey development process are available on the Canadian Primary Health Care Research and Innovation Network website.