Development of the Health System Use Project (HSU)
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In order to fully understand health care, one must first recognize and acknowledge the many uses for health system data. To this end it is necessary to develop methods and solutions that can capture information for its many varied uses efficiently and effectively. Besides direct patient care there are also secondary uses of health data some of which could help determine health programs, health policies, focus research, allocate funding and provide understanding on the return of investment in different areas. Canada Health Infoway has recognized this value and has initiated early phases of the Health System Use (HSU) project. The HSU project provided an opening for a valuable internship experience that was completed at CHI’s Atlantic offices in Bedford, Halifax between the dates of May 6 to July 31, 2009. The author’s major responsibility was to support the core CIHI and CHI project teams on the development of the health system use materials to support the Health System Use Phase 0 proposal to the Board of Deputy Ministers. The following internship report describes the work and contribution that the author made on the HSU project, including his experience and findings in the use of template reporting and the traceability matrix. What was evident whilst working on the project was the importance of recognizing standards for efficient and useful data capture. Standards also included pan-Canadian standards. Also important was the requirement to identify existing gaps in Infoway’s use cases. Both of these components suggested that template reporting could be a useful tool to standardize point of data capture. One such example of template reporting is synoptic reporting. One of the challenges that the author encountered, was how best to adapt a template for standardized reporting and ease of data entry, when questions and answers on patient care tend to be documented in narrative text. Some of the recommendations and solutions that the author made included identifying primary health care indicators from available systematized nomenclatures, and incorporating these indicators as questions on checklists. Another solution consisted of designing the questions to obtain iii accurate answers whilst at the same time maintaining flexibility in interpretation for secondary data use. This report describes in detail the author’s experience throughout the internship, his findings, the challenges and his solutions to those challenges; and the inter-relationships with health informatics learning.