Benefits and Value

The Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) securely collects de-identified health information from electronic medical records of participating primary care clinicians (e.g. family physicians and nurse practitioners) who are referred to as ‘sentinels.’ There are potential opportunities to link CPCSSN data with other aspects of the health system (i.e. hospitalization data). This work allows researchers, policymakers, and clinicians to better understand primary healthcare and delivery, disease trends, and improve patient care across the country.

Members of CPCSSN can request fully anonymized data sets from CPCSSN with which to conduct research. Data linkage of CPCSSN to other data are possible in order to provide researchers with a full picture of what is happening across health networks and provinces. Data linkage is a technique that associates two distinct data sources so that data that relate to the same individual, group, or unit can be combined for analysis.

Linking data allows for more exhaustive data sets and can enable research involving multiple variables that cannot be researched with one data source alone. CPCSSN has linked CPCSSN-collected electronic medical record data with complementary administrative health data so that complex conditions involving many variables can be researched. For example, a CIHR-funded study is examining frailty among elderly adults, which requires information on several physiological functions (e.g. blood pressure) in addition to information on the use of health care services (e.g. hospitalizations). Data linkages must be conducted within each regional network and may not be feasible in all networks.

CPCSSN Data Access Fees Policy

Access to primary care electronic medical record data are made possible by the ongoing acquisition & standardized processing of electronic medical record data across Canada. Follow the link below to learn more about CPCSSN’s Data Access Fees Policy.

CPCSSN Data Access Request

To request access to primary care electronic medical record data, researchers, policymakers, and clinicians must submit a Data Access Request (DAR). The DAR is reviewed by a dedicated committee to ensure that the research or study aligns with CPCSSN values, meets ethics and privacy requirements, and all documentation is completed. Follow the link below to learn more and submit a CPCSSN’s Data Access Request.