Primary care quality improvement: Is data the future?

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  • Concerned Conrad says:

    Data collection is useful if it is measuring objective, actionable points that are supported by evidence and generalizable to populations. THis could inform future policy decisions within reason. INdividual data collection could be useful for making individual changes, but should not be identified when collected by a centralized body.

    However, the data should NOT be collected by government organizations. Any collected data should be by the professional specialty organization provided it is NOT under government influence. If this is not possible then it should not be collected at all.

    Government surveillance of physician practice is an intrusion into the professional obligations of physicians and sets a very dangerous precedent that could have very bad aftereffects in health care quality.

    Physicians are supposed to be patient advocates against the government, because the interests of government ($$$) often run counter to patient interests (staying alive and well). If the government is pulling the strings of physicians, as “data” would allow them to do, then whose going to speak for the patients? Certainly not the government. Often this data, as seen with instances in large, centralized health systems like in Alberta, is used to shame and blacklist “problem” physicians who speak out against government or organizational corruption.

  • Phil Jost, HSM, MBA says:

    To those physicians that rankle at the ‘intrusion’ of a 3rd party measuring their effectiveness, I say – you can’t manage what you can’t measure! – and – its not about doctors, it’s about patient health and well-being! The sooner all participants in our health care system the adopt the overriding goal of the Roy Romanow Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada (2002), that, “medicare is as sustainable as Canadians want it to be, we now need to take the next bold step – Making Canadians the healthiest people in the world”. By the way, it was the Romnanow Commission that set the benchmark for the establishment of the recently expired 10 year $billion Health Accord.

  • Geoffrey Forbes says:

    These reports are excellent, they identify the gaps in my practice. It would be useful to me to be able to claim these as CME credits, because that’s what it is.
    What this data does not address is patient choice, however. Some people refuse statins after a full and frank discussion, for example. That’s their choice and I support those choices. The current data collection methodology, however, does not allow identification of these cases.
    Another issue is that research based on the diagnostic codes submitted in Ontario is going to be suspect. Typical situation: a patient sees an MD for a discussion about “my brother got lymphoma, will I get it too” and the diagnostic code corresponding to “Lymphoma” is entered, that has zero meaning. And if you code it “Anxiety”, some patients will object…


Vanessa Milne


Vanessa is a freelance health journalist and a form staff writer with Healthy Debate

Christopher Doig


Christopher is a Professor in the Departments of Critical Care Medicine, Community Health Sciences, and Medicine at Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

Jill Konkin


Jill is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta.

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