Facilitating access to data to improve the health care system for patients

The SPOR Canadian Data Platform (CDP) is pioneering a single stop for researchers to request access to rich health and social data from various sources across the country.

Currently, the data access process differs across jurisdictions in terms of the forms required, the fees charged, the physical location of the data, and more. By reducing barriers to information access, the CDP will enable investigators to conduct multi-jurisdictional, people and patient-focused research more efficiently.

Canadian Data Platform - What It Is
Canadian Data Platform - What It Is

Supported by provincial, territorial and federal partners, the CDP aims to unlock the potential of our country’s unique data assets and expertise to address the most pressing health research challenges facing the public and policymakers.

The CDP is made possible through Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), which is supported by funding from CIHR, provinces and territories, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions and health charities.

How it works

The Data Access Support Hub (DASH) offers a single form for requesting multi-jurisdictional data. In this initial phase, requests from researchers from SPOR SUPPORT Units, SPOR Networks and from recipients of Innovative Clinical Trials (iCT) grants will be prioritized.

In the short term, the DASH will document current data access practices and requirements across jurisdictions, and support researchers in navigating the data access process. It will also create an inventory of available data assets and provide information on how to request data.

Additional improvements anticipated in the future include:

  • Harmonizing access processes across jurisdictions
  • Reducing inefficiencies and the time required for researchers to access data
  • Accommodating new sources of data
Canadian Data Platform - How It Works
With data, we can begin to address some of the big health and social challenges facing our country. We can better understand the nature of a problem, find its causes, and figure out how to fix it.
Kim McGrail, Scientific Director

Project Objectives

  • Create a data access support system that helps navigate requests from two or more jurisdictions.
  • Harmonize and validate definitions for chronic diseases and other key analytic variables
  • Expand the sources and types of data and linkages available, including clinical and social data.
  • Develop the technological infrastructure required to improve the data access request process as well as the documentation, storage, and re-use of algorithms and existing data.
  • Create supports for advanced analytics and infrastructure for data collection and analysis.
  • Establish strong partnerships with patients and the public and with Indigenous communities.
  • Build strong governance and enable national coordination.