British Columbia’s Health Data Platform: Unleashing the Power of a Data Environment Commons for Health and Health System Improvement

Main Article Content

Shirley Wong
Victoria Schuckel
Simon Thompson
David Ford
Ronan Lyons
Richard Hier


There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.1

The Health Data Platform (HDP) will democratize British Columbia’s (population of approximately 4.6 million) health sector data by creating common enabling infrastructure that supports cross-organization analytics and research used by both decision makers and cademics. HDP will provide streamlined, proportionate processes that provide timelier access to data with increased transparency for the data consumer and provide shared data related services that elevate best practices by enabling consistency across data contributors, while maintaining continued stewardship of their data. HDP will be built in collaboration with Swansea University following an agile pragmatic approach starting with a minimum viable product.

Objectives and Approach
Build a data sharing environment that harnesses the data and the understanding and expertise about health data across academe, decision makers, and clinicians in the province by:

  • Enabling a common harmonized approach across the sector on:

    • Data stewardship

    • Data access

    • Data security and privacy

    • Data management

    • Data standards

  • To:

    • Enhance data consumer data access experience

    • Increase process consistency and transparency

    • Reduce burden of liberating data from a data source

    • Build trust in the data and what it is telling us and therefore the decisions made

    • Increase data accessibility safely and responsibly

Working within the jurisdiction’s existing legislation, the Five Safes Privacy and Security Framework will be implemented, tailored to address the requirements of data contributors.

The minimum viable product will provide the necessary enabling infrastructure including governance to enable timelier access, safely to administrative data to a limited set of data consumers. The MVP will be expanded with another release planned for early 2021.

Conclusion / Implications
Collaboration with Swansea University has enabled BC to accelerate its journey to increasing timelier access to data, safely and increasing the maturity of analytics by creating the enabling infrastructure that promotes collaboration and sharing of data and data approaches.

Margaret Wheatley

Article Details

How to Cite
Wong, S., Schuckel, V., Thompson, S., Ford, D., Lyons, R. and Hier, R. (2020) “British Columbia’s Health Data Platform: Unleashing the Power of a Data Environment Commons for Health and Health System Improvement”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(5). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1477.

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