95% of Ontarians have a family doctor and the information contained in the electronic medical records (EMRs) of family physicians is a largely untapped source of data on patients. Over 800 family doctors across Ontario are already safely and securely contributing EMR data for almost a million patients through primary care practice networks embedded in community practices across the province. These networks have successfully extracted, cleaned, standardized, and merged data from EMRs for over ten years.
De-identified patient information is extracted by each network from the EMRs of consenting physicians from multiple EMR vendor systems. This data is regularly used for reporting, research, and quality improvement. This type of data has changed practice, including how we manage conditions like diabetes and Bell’s palsy, and has been used to make the case for primary care investment. This data can also help us understand the impact of COVID-19 on our practices and our patients through collecting and analyzing health data—the stories of patients seen in our practices need to be heard. The pandemic has exposed many data gaps in Ontario; these hurt people’s health and our economy. Family doctors are vitally important to help fill information gaps.
Collectively, we can do this by providing safe and secure access to real-world data. This is possible, with your help. By agreeing to supply your EMR data through our Practice Networks, you contribute to a secure provincial base of evidence that will strengthen family medicine’s capacity to learn about this pandemic and prepare for the next one. This includes effects on preventive services, chronic disease management, and long-term outcomes for our patients. The time and effort it takes to participate is minimal: all you have to do is fill out a consent form and a brief survey and our staff will co-ordinate data extraction at your practice, with all safeguards in place. To do this, find the regional network that is closest to you and contact a member of the team.
McMaster University Sentinel and Information Collaboration | MUSIC
Dr. Dee Mangin | firstname.lastname@example.org
Deliver Primary Healthcare Information | DELPHI
Dr. Amanda Terry | email@example.com
Dr. Bridget Ryan | firstname.lastname@example.org