Knowing that we know naught: Canadian health care data being buried instead of analyzed



    HALIFAX, Sept. 14 /CNW/ - Knowledge is power and in terms of health care
data it could be the power to save lives. Yet regardless of the mountains of
information collected in Canadian health care establishments, at a cost of
millions per year, little is ever used effectively.
    The latest Canadian Health Care Consensus Group (CHCCG) Background Paper,
Knowable Now: Knowable known unknowns of Canadian health care explains that
much of the information collected is considered to be unusable because it is
not comparable between provinces, incomplete or inconsistent. Worse, it is
then mothballed and not made available to researchers and health care
academics who could use it to provide solutions to pressing problems like wait
times and tracking federal funds for specific projects.
    The paper suggests the solution lies with provincial health departments,
especially in smaller provinces. Provincial databases have the advantage of
being large enough to be statistically relevant but small enough to be
workable for researchers. By working together researchers and governments will
both benefit; by not co-operating the effort put into collecting all that data
is wasted.
    Members of the Canadian Health Care Consensus Group (CHCCG) came together
last year to provide a platform for bold, reasoned and practical plans for
genuine reform of the health care system and to demonstrate that there is an
emerging consensus among reform-minded observers about the direction that real
reform must take. The CHCCG, coordinated by the Atlantic Institute for Market
Studies (AIMS - www.aims.ca ), includes medical practitioners, former health
ministers, past presidents of the Canadian Medical Association and provincial
medical and hospital associations, academics, and health care policy experts,
all of whom are signatories to the group's Statement of Principles.
    Knowable Now is one of a series of background papers prepared for the
CHCCG, which are intended to contribute to that new debate. These papers do
not represent official positions of the Consensus Group, and are not
themselves consensus documents, but rather are intended to act as starting
points for debate, some of which will occur on the Consensus Group's website
(www.consensusgroup.ca).

    To read the complete paper, www.aims.ca/library/CHCCGBP4E.pdf




For further information:

For further information: Barbara Pike, Atlantic Institute for Market
Studies, Director of Communications (902) 429-1143 ext. 227, (902) 452-1172

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CANADIAN HEALTH CARE CONSENSUS GROUP (CHCCG)

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