From the moment you are born, governments and public bodies collect information about you throughout your lifetime – like when you attend school, get a job, visit the doctor, fill a prescription, and more.
Our health is impacted by many factors, including race, gender, education level, income and more. These factors are known as social determinants of health. Researchers use data about these factors to better understand and find solutions to challenges that impact the health and well-being of all Canadians.
What is Health Data Research Network Canada?
Health Data Research Network Canada ("HDRN Canada") is a group of data centres across Canada working together to simplify the process of using data that are held across the country to inform studies that may improve the health services and care that are offered.
The Data Access Support Hub (DASH) has been created so researchers can see what data are held at the participating centres and provides a single spot where they can make requests for data held in multiple areas of Canada.
Why is this needed?
Currently, each provincial, territorial, or federal data centre has its own unique process for researchers to request access to data. For example, there may be different forms and processes required or different fees charged in different jurisdictions.
Because of this, the process of requesting access to data from multiple sources can be challenging and very slow. As a result, many studies are limited to one jurisdiction, limiting the potential for comparing health outcomes between different provinces or territories.
For example, patients in one province may have better success rates following treatment for a particular condition than patients in another province. However, without access to that data, researchers may not even know that there is a difference between those two provinces. They are also unable to study what other factors may be causing that difference and how to improve outcomes for patients in other parts of the country.
How will this improve my healthcare?
HDRN Canada is building upon a network of the provincial, territorial and federal organizations that work in the field of data access to make the data access processes consistent across the country.
By making it easier for researchers to access data, HDRN Canada is enabling more studies that include information from multiple provinces and/or territories, strengthening research and leading to better decision-making for healthcare and social service provision.
How can I get involved?
HDRN Canada is committed to including a diversity of voices in its Public Advisory Committee (PAC), which will help shape the priorities for the types of studies conducted and data that will be made available through the platform.