In February, CIHI welcomed a new vice president, Brent Diverty. In this position, he is entrusted with leading the Programs division into the future, where technology will have a profound impact on the work we do.
“We will continue to enhance the information base we have and the way we deliver information,” said Diverty, recognizing the different expectations in today’s world, fed by technology like tablets and the need for immediate information.
With that in mind, CIHI’s products will continue to be refined with a nod to online and electronic delivery to best support those who rely on them to make key decisions. Diverty also said that finding future sources of data will be a heavy focus, including the widespread opportunities for improved health system use of electronic medical and health records.
In his career, Diverty has created, collected and analyzed data. He has worked on the supply and demand sides of health information, and he’s spent a great deal of time learning how people use data.
First a Statistics Canada analyst, his interest in the origins of data led him into survey design. He was part of a small team that launched the Canadian Community Health Survey. From there he entered management consulting, where he met users of information, which enlightened him on how people want data provided to them.
He joined CIHI in 2004 as a director leading non-acute health service data. In seven years, he oversaw significantly increased participation in the Home Care and Continuing Care reporting systems, the creation of the Ontario Mental Health Reporting System, the inclusion of National Rehabilitation Reporting System data in CIHI Portal and the development of eReports for many programs.
In 2010, Diverty travelled 10,000 miles to Canberra and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) as part of a knowledge-sharing initiative with CIHI.
As a senior executive with AIHW, he guided a range of health and welfare information programs. He also bore witness to a different health data landscape. Diverty said that Canada has richer information for non-acute services outside hospitals, though that data is not generally pan-Canadian. Australia’s data is more limited in scope, but it more often delivers national coverage.
“Australia has the ability to quantify the type and nature of publicly funded community mental health services at the national level, for example. That’s something we are still aspiring to do here in Canada,” he said—adding that Australia could look to Canada for an example of standardized quality and outcome measures in areas like long-term care, home care and mental health.
Diverty has carried back new perspectives from his time Down Under. AIHW excels at assembling data from many sources to form a complete picture of a specific topic. It has an active analysis program that focuses on indigenous Australians. And it is adept at focusing on population health aspects while analyzing the health and welfare systems.
“These line up well with where we want to head,” Diverty said. “We want to ensure even greater policy relevance and a broader system view. We are interested in contributing to information on First Nations. And we are interested in ensuring a population health lens in our health system analysis.”
As VP of Programs, Diverty is devoted to filling in gaps in data to help accurately measure health system performance. He said CIHI needs better measures of outcomes and costs, which will permit health leaders to make better decisions.
CIHI will help clarify the picture with products that will increasingly integrate data from a range of sources to provide more of a system view—with the aim of improving the lives of Canadians through a better health system.