Data Quality

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Quality is at the heart of everything CIHI does. It is embedded in our vision (Better Data. Better Decisions. Healthier Canadians.) and mandate. Our new strategic plan is focused on providing stakeholders with the information they need. This includes a specific goal to be a trusted source of standards and quality data.

CIHI’s Data Quality Program is recognized nationally and internationally for its comprehensiveness and high standards. Our goals are to continuously improve data and information quality within CIHI and the broader health sector.

The Data Quality team’s key goals and activities are to

  • Ensure CIHI continues to be a trusted source of health information
  • Ensure our information is fit for and meets the broadening needs of our stakeholders
  • Ensure our quality improvement initiatives are focused on the right areas
  • Evolve and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our quality management practices

Improving data and information quality is a collaborative effort. CIHI works with its data suppliers and users to support each of these activities.

We welcome your feedback and questions.

Have a data inquiry or research question? Make a custom data request.

 Data Quality Framework
 Provincial/Territorial Data Quality Reports
 Discharge Abstract Database reabstraction studies
 Metadata on CIHI’s data holdings

Data Quality Framework

CIHI’s Data Quality Framework (2009) sets out an approach to systematically assess, document and improve data quality for all of our data holdings. Applying the framework helps us identify both strengths and limitations in our data and identify how it can be improved. We provide documentation to help users determine whether the data meets their needs and, if so, how to use it appropriately.

CIHI uses 5 dimensions to define data and information quality:

  • Relevance: The degree to which a data holding meets users’ current and potential future needs
  • Accuracy: How well information from a data holding reflects the reality it was designed to measure
  • Timeliness: How current the data is at the time of release
  • Comparability: The extent to which a data holding is consistent over time and collects data in a way similar to other data holdings
  • Usability: The ease with which data can be accessed and understood

To encompass the broader scope of information quality, a new information quality plan is being developed to help us support the implementation of our new strategic plan and maintenance of our current operations. This new plan will help us adapt to changing information needs while remaining a trusted source of health information.

Provincial/Territorial Data Quality Reports

CIHI produces annual data quality reports to assess the contribution of each province and territory to 11 of CIHI’s databases. These reports are shared with deputy ministers of health and key jurisdictional representatives across the country in order to raise awareness of data quality at the highest level of government.

Over the years, the reports have helped to enhance both the coverage and the quality of our data. A single executive summary has been created to better highlight each jurisdiction’s most significant data quality findings across all databases — areas of best practice and improvement, as well as areas that may require particular attention.

Learn more in our reference guide that describes the indicators and methodology used to calculate each indicator that supports this report.

The executive summary and indicators will be shared publicly in 2017.

Discharge Abstract Database reabstraction studies

CIHI conducts regular reabstraction studies of the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) as part of its comprehensive Data Quality Program. These studies are designed to evaluate the quality of abstract coding, identify systemic issues and assess the impact of any coding issues on CIHI’s products. They involve health information coding specialists performing a chart review of acute care diagnostic, intervention and other selected data elements that were previously collected and submitted to CIHI.

The most recent reabstraction study was carried out on open-year (preliminary) 2015–2016 DAD data and provides an assessment of overall coding quality, with a primary focus on data used to measure patient safety.

Metadata on CIHI’s data holdings

The Data Quality team, in collaboration with CIHI’s database program areas, maintains almost 30 data holding metadata pages. Metadata pages allow you to quickly learn more about a data holding, including its

  • Source
  • Coverage
  • Data elements
  • Data availability
  • Data quality

Learn more in our full listing of data holdings.

Use CIHI's accessibility request form to request CIHI documentation in an accessible format.