Patient Data in the Electronic Age
May 11, 2018

Hospitalizations are the largest single category of healthcare expenditure in Canada. Patient outcomes such as rates of readmissions and length of hospital stay are often priorities for health system efficiency and reducing costs.

Depending on your research goals, you can also answer important questions in the following areas using administrative datasets:

  • Monitoring for areas of demand and trends over time.
    • How long do patients with a certain diagnosis stay in the hospital?
  • Quality of Care (e.g. efficiency, safety and timeliness)
    • How many heart failure patients are readmitted within 30 days of discharge? Does this vary geographically or by any demographic characteristics?
  • Evaluation of programs or clinical pathways:
    • Has a new program reduced hospitalizations for its targeted population?
  • Epidemiology/burden of disease:
    • What is the prevalence and incidence of specific conditions?

As an example, Alberta is Canada’s fourth-largest province providing universal healthcare coverage for approximately 3.7 million people. Uniquely, Alberta has a single health authority, Alberta Health Services (AHS), responsible for delivering medical care on behalf of the Alberta Ministry of Health (Alberta Health).
Similar to the data captured by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), AHS has a number of province-wide datasets that can be used for research, including:

  • The Discharge Abstract Database: which includes demographic, administrative and clinical data on inpatient hospital discharges
  • The National Ambulatory Care Reporting System: which includes data for all hospital and community-based ambulatory care, including day surgery and emergency departments

To learn more about how your organization can utilize these datasets for your next research project, book a consultation today!