Frequently Asked Questions

The Health Data Coalition is the result of the enthusiasm and dedication of a group of family physicians from across British Columbia, and their mutual passion for their profession – to improve the quality, to be innovative and to protect privacy for both the doctors and their patients.

We believe that the growing adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) is providing exciting opportunities to use clinical data to reflect on patient care; compared to paper-based patient records, EMRs make it much faster and easier to search, summarize, graph and share data.

We also know that many of the most successful quality improvement endeavours in health care are being driven by physicians, and are following clear policies to ensure the privacy of patients and health care providers is protected.

In this FAQ, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions of HDC.

Who are we?

The Health Data Coalition (HDC) is a non-profit agency that brings together the AMCARE (Aggregated Metrics for Clinical Analytics and Research) and PDC (Physicians Data Collaborative) networks into a single unified resource, representing over 250,000 patients, available for use by all physicians delivering care in BC.

What do we do?

We work in two streams. Technical development (open source web application that aggregates anonymized data from EMRs through a distributed network of member clinics); and creating a fair and balanced governance structure that ensures our core values and objectives are sustained in the metrics we present to our member clinics and the data we disclose to third parties.

To what end?

To connect physician EMRs in real-time across the province to ultimately improve patient and population health outcomes and improve patient and provider satisfaction. This will give physicians the ability to use existing clinical data in a more meaningful way and query data to answer clinical questions. These metrics will empower physician quality improvement through self-reflection and in small groups, and will inform health systems managers through granular population health indices.

Who can participate?

Membership is open to all physicians in BC. To help Divisions, their members, and physician and staff participants in other programs such as the Practice Support Program, to share clinical data while maintaining confidentiality.

The HDC is working in collaboration with EMR vendors to enable connectivity to all EMR products being used across the province.

Where are you now in terms of your roadmap?

HDC achieved all foundational objectives as planned for this first year:

  • successfully amalgamated the technologies of PDC and AMCARE into a single solution;
  • went live with HDC 1.0 in October 2016 across the OSCAR, Osler and MOIS EMRs;
  • enrolled users from all three legacy EMRs;
  • established an interim board and business operations, toward a first AGM in 2017;
  • invested in the first phase of Privacy By Design certification from Deloitte.

With its initial GPSC funding, the HDC network is being developed in a phased way, in collaboration with EMR vendors. The eagerness we hear from physicians who wish to enrol is encouraging, and affirms our plan to ensure that all family physician EMR users will have access to the HDC as soon as resources allow.

What can I actually do right now?

If you are an Oscar, Osler or MOIS EMR user, you can sign on now. Depending on your level of interest, you may choose to subscribe to channels of indicators, view various report templates, and create shares and groups with peers. We’re currently in the design phase for an Intrahealth adaptor. With this adaptor in place, HDC’s connectivity will increase to 58% of the family physician EMR vendor market. HDC is also in technical discussions with TELUS to ensure that the estimated 26% of EMR users who use Wolf and MedAccess will also have access to the learning and community of the HDC system. 

What's next?

We’re developing dashboards, adding new endpoints, prioritizing new web application features, all to be delivered in the next 2-4 months.

What's it going to cost me?

There is no cost at this point as start up and Beta costs are covered by GPSC.

Can this data be used by regulatory authorities, or MSP to monitor my practice and compliance with regulations?

NO. This data is under the control of the physician led HDC. Although partners may later request access to province wide aggregated data for planning purposes, this is at the discretion of the HDC. This data will never be used to monitor individual physician or practice performance. The HDC was created by physicians and physician led to ensure that we control our own data.

I may be contributing to the greater good but what's the benefit to me, my patients and my practice?

Suppose you wanted to ask a question, for example how many patients are on opiates and benzodiazepines in my practice (very topical now) or how many COPD patients have an action plan, are smokers etc.? You can ask these sorts of questions using the HDC system.