New platform will allow researchers to better detect, plan and respond to the outbreak
TORONTO —The Ontario government is taking steps to better detect, plan and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. In consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner, the province is developing a new health data platform called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR). This new platform will hold secure health data that will allow researchers to better support health system planning and responsiveness, including the immediate need to analyze the current COVID-19 outbreak.
“Better access to integrated data will improve modelling and research to determine how COVID-19 is evolving, ensuring frontline staff are as prepared as possible in these unprecedented times,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While access to data is important, we are taking all measures to ensure patient privacy is always respected and Ontarians are aware of how anonymized information may be shared.”
Ontario will appoint a PANTHR special advisor and form a roundtable to provide recommendations about the data and policies to support and help overcome barriers while developing this platform.
The information gathered in the secure platform will help break down long-standing barriers and allow researchers to help with:
- Increasing detection of COVID-19;
- Discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations;
- Predicting when and where outbreaks may happen;
- Evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working; and
- Identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.
“Integrating data from across the province will allow us to effectively leverage tools, like artificial intelligence, to better understand this virus, how it spreads and the most effective means of combatting it,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. “These key insights will mean our world-class health system partners have secure access to better and more consistent population data, improving decision-making in health care and aiding our efforts to beat COVID-19. The health and safety of Ontarians remains our singular focus – this is another measure that will allow us to continue to deliver on that commitment.”
When launched, PANTHR will provide access to de-identified, integrated data on publicly funded administrative health services records, including:
- Physician claims submitted to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP);
- Medical drug claims submitted to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program;
- Discharge summaries of hospital stays and emergency department visits; and
- Claims for home care and long-term care.
PANTHR will also contain clinical data from special registry collections, such as the Critical Care Information System (CCIS), which reports on critical care capacity in the province, and clinical data extracted from public health, hospital, laboratory and diagnostic imaging information systems. Other supporting data may also be added based on needs of researchers in achieving COVID-19 objectives.
Visit Ontario’s website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19 or to take a self assessment.