FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

HOW DO I

Enrol?

Click here to self enrol. Alternatively, our Clinical Services Managers would be happy to assist you with any questions or arranging a demonstration of HDC Discover. Click here to contact us. 

Add a Physician/Nurse or Health Care Professional to my clinic account?

Watch our video tutorial, How to add a new member.

Send a 'Share Request' or create a new Group?

Watch our video tutorial, Sending Share Requests and Creating Groups.

CLINIC ENROLLMENT

1. What is HDC Discover, and how can it help my clinical practice?

HDC Discover is an online application designed by physicians to enable providers to share and compare aggregated data about their clinical practice.

HDC aggregates health data to empower care providers to recognize trends, identify strengths and consider opportunities in their unique practices. HDC’s measurement categories include disease management, prevalence, prevention, screening, documentation, and panel management, support learning, planning and quality improvement.

For more information on the benefits of participating in HDC Discover, click here.

2. How much does HDC Discover cost?

We receive funding from the General Practice Services Committee (GPSC) so BC physicians can use HDC Discover at no cost.

3. I want to enrol, but I'm not sure about my colleagues…What are my options?

Enrol now, and your Clinical Services Manager will contact you with options. For further information, please contact us.

HDC DISCOVER BASICS

4. What time commitments can I expect if I enrol?

HDC Discover is a tool that you use at your convenience. The application is updated automatically. You can log in at any time that works with your schedule.

5. How can HDC Discover support panel management?

You can use HDC Discover to identify priorities and to see the benefits of your panel cleanup activities as you progress. You can add your PSP coach to your clinic’s account to support you in all three phases of the Panel Management Program as well in any chosen QI initiatives, such as a facilitation cycle.

6. Does HDC have any COVID-19 related measures?

Our measures can help you assess your at-risk populations, both in your clinic and community. HDC Discover can help you consider how your practice has been adapting to the pandemic. See our COVID-19 Usage Tips for practical examples of how HDC can support physicians during COVID-19, or review our complete list of measures.

7. What is data aggregation?

Data aggregation is the process of gathering raw data and expressing it in a summary or statistical form. Data aggregation transforms personal information into groupings, enabling physicians to analyze data from their EMRs while protecting privacy.

HDC aggregates data to three levels – the provider-level, clinic-level, and population-levels. At population-level aggregations, the data becomes fully anonymized and cannot be connected back to any individual or clinic.

8. Who is authorized to see my clinic or practice data in HDC Discover?

Only you can authorize others to see the aggregate data about your practice or clinic. You remain in full control of the data you provide to HDC for aggregation and the clinic and provider-level aggregations we create on your behalf. If you want to share measures about your clinical practice, such as with your division, PSP coach, or peers, you must enable this sharing in HDC Discover. You can stop sharing your results at any time.

HDC controls the sharing of fully anonymized aggregate data in HDC Discover. Our use and sharing of this data are limited, as per our Use and Disclosure of Anonymized Aggregated Data Policy 

9. Could HDC Discover be used by the College or the Ministry to assess a medical practice?

No. We designed HDC Discover for quality improvement, not involuntary assessments for accreditation or regulatory purposes. We have implemented the appropriate governance and technical controls to protect data from being used in a coercive or punitive manner.

DIVISIONS OF FAMILY PRACTICE

10. How can Divisions benefit from HDC Discover?

HDC Discover offers a current and robust source of primary care data, including Demographics, Labs, Procedures, Medications, Problem lists, and Observations. Data is displayed in an easy to use, visual graphic format to help you identify areas to explore.

HDC Discover supports QI efforts by reflecting the changes in your EMR over time.

PRIVACY AND SECURITY

11. What does the HDC do with EMR data?

HDC aggregates EMR data as a service to care providers and clinics.

We use different models to process EMR data to deliver our services in a way that aligns with the technical and security requirements of the various EMR systems used in BC.

For clinics with self-hosted EMRs, we install a small computer device, known as an ‘endpoint’ in the clinic. A copy of the EMR data is captured on the endpoint and aggregated securely on this encrypted device. Patient information never leaves the clinic.

For EMRs that are SaaS or cloud-hosted, we transfer a specific, agreed-upon set of patient-level data from the EMR vendor to our secure data centre. We segregate patient data according to the clinic in what we call a “virtual endpoint.” All aggregation occurs in this virtual endpoint.

In both cases, the raw EMR data remains in the participating clinic’s control, secured on the encrypted endpoint. Only aggregated information is transferred and made available through HDC Discover.

12. Does HDC need access to my EMR or my patients' personal information?

Yes. We require access to patient-level information from your EMR to aggregate that data on your clinic’s behalf. Our access to patient information is limited to only that information necessary for your clinic to use HDC Discover.

13. Does the HDC store and retain my patient or practice data?

We retain your patient-level data and the data we aggregate on your behalf only as required to deliver the service you have requested. We have no authority to use your data for any other purpose.

If you end your contract with HDC, we will destroy your patient’s information. We will also delete any aggregated information identifying you or your clinic from HDC Discover.

14. Do I need consent from my patients to share EMR Data with HDC?

No. HDC’s data aggregation service helps clinics and medical practitioners provide quality care. BC’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) permits medical clinics to share personal information with their contracted service providers. Additional consent from patients is not necessary if the service received supports the clinic in providing their services.

PIPA requires all private sector organizations to take reasonable steps to ensure individuals understand how personal information is managed and used. For more information, see this guidance document published by the Office of the Information Privacy Commissioner of BC (OIPC).

15. How is patient privacy protected?

HDC’s data aggregations enable clinics and care providers to use health data for planning and quality improvement while protecting patient privacy.

Our secure architecture and anonymization processes ensure that information about a clinic’s patients is segregated and protected to minimize the risks of cyber-attacks or other breaches. Patient-level data is never brought into HDC Discover (secure web application) and does not directly contribute to aggregations higher than those at the clinic-level.

We have developed our operations using the Privacy by Design framework to address and proactively prevent privacy risks.

16. Why is Privacy by Design important?

Privacy by Design is an internationally recognized approach to software development that endorses data protection and privacy compliance at the outset of any activity. This robust, proactive methodology significantly reduces privacy risks and has become law in the European Union.

HDC has been certified for Privacy by Design to ensure our products and services comply with the highest standards for privacy protection.

17. Can my clinic or practice be identified in HDC Discover?

Only if you give explicit permission to share your provider-level or clinic-level aggregate data with another user or group through the data-sharing features in HDC Discover. You control what measures can be shared and may stop sharing at any time.

We take special precautions to ensure clinics and providers are not identifiable within HDC’s anonymized, population-level aggregations. Our “rule of 5” means that aggregations representing fewer than five entities are not available through HDC Discover. We withhold small cell sizes and outliers to protect those clinics that provide unique services or support unique patient populations.

ACCOUNTABILITY

18. If HDC ceased to operate, what would happen to the data?

As per our agreements with clinics and providers, we would destroy all personal information, including patient-level and aggregated information identifying participating care providers and clinics.

As per HDC’s articles of incorporation, should we cease to operate, our assets would transfer to the Doctors of BC (DoBC). That includes the fully anonymized aggregate data that we create to enable HDC Discover to operate. This data may have archival value as a snapshot in time of BC’s health landscape.

19. What certainty is there that HDC will not sell data to Big Pharma or disclose data for profit?

As an independent, not-for-profit organization, HDC is accountable to our physician-led Board of Directors, participating clinics, providers, and the broader healthcare community, to use data appropriately, as per our Use and Disclosure of Anonymized Aggregate Data Policy. We will not profit or accept funding from any organization that could put us in conflict with our mission or vision.