The HDC Discover application ensures secure access to aggregated clinical data, ensuring privacy by transforming patient information into statistical analysis.
The ‘N of 5’ rule is a critical safeguard for the protection of physician privacy. Essentially, this rule specifies that groups should be comprised of at least five members (whether they are individuals or clinics), in order for the aggregated data of that group to be disclosed to all users. This rule is employed to prevent the identification or isolation of data related to a single individual or organization within a small group. The rationale behind this rule is that five is the minimum number of members required within a group to ensure that the overall data aggregate is substantial enough to mask the individual data aggregates.
Under the ‘N of 5’ rule, when the number of HDC users in a specific group is less than five, that group will not be available on the Data Source Preferences list. Additionally, the data associated with this group will not be displayed in any data tables or graphs within the system to continue to protect data contributor privacy.
Please note, as the enrollment of HDC users increases, and more data is contributed to the system, additional system generated groups will become accessible on the Data Source Preferences list for reporting and comparison.
For instance, out of the 195 Community Health Service Areas (CHSA) across the province, our application provides aggregate data for 11; for the 89 Local Health Areas (LHA), we display 26, and for the 16 Health Service Delivery Areas (HSDA), all 16 are shown.
This N of 5 rule can be circumvented if a private custom group is created where less than five individual or organization aggregates can be combined to create a new custom group. In a private group, only members of the group can view the group aggregate.