Purpose: Collection and analysis of health data are crucial to achieving high-quality clinical care, research, and quality improvement. This review explores existing hospital, regional, provincial and national data platforms in Canada to identify gaps and barriers, and recommend improvements for data science.
Source: The Canadian Critical Care Trials Group and the Canadian Critical Care Translational Biology Group undertook an environmental survey using list-identified names and keywords in PubMed and the grey literature, from the Canadian context. Findings were grouped into sections, corresponding to geography, purpose, and patient sub-group initiatives, using a narrative qualitative approach. Emerging themes, impressions, and recommendations towards improving data initiatives were generated.
Principal findings: In Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database contains high-level clinical data on every adult and child discharged from acute care facilities; however, it does not contain data from Quebec, critical care-specific severity of illness risk-adjustment scores, physiologic data, or data pertaining to medication use. Provincially mandated critical care platforms in four provinces contain more granular data, and can be used to risk adjust and link to within-province data sets; however, no inter-provincial collaborative mechanism exists. There is very limited infrastructure to collect and link biological samples from critically ill patients nationally. Comprehensive international clinical data sets may inform future Canadian initiatives.
Conclusion: Clinical and biological data collection among critically ill patients in Canada is not sufficiently coordinated, and lags behind other jurisdictions. An integrated and inclusive critical care data platform is a key clinical and scientific priority in Canada.