Main Article Content
ICES is an entity in Ontario, Canada that collects and uses the personal health information (PHI) of individuals for evaluation, planning and monitoring of the provincial health system. It currently does not have legal authority to collect PHI from, or disclose PHI to, municipalities for the purpose of supporting evidence-based policymaking and enabling “Smarter Cities”.
Objectives and Approach
To assess how ICES could allow municipalities to access PHI, while maintaining strong privacy and security data protection, we first: (i) explored the legal data trust model as a vehicle for broader collection and use of municipal data, and (ii) analyzed the regulatory changes and type of framework that would enable broader access and use of PHI by municipalities. Following this and to demonstrate the value of access to ICES data for municipal planning, we identified a case project involving a municipal health stakeholder. Leveraging ICES’ remote access model, two local public health analysts performed analytics on de-sensitized, individual-level data in a secure analytic environment.
We determined that a legal data trust is not the appropriate model for the type of data sharing envisioned, but rather, a data governance and ethical use framework complimentary to a new legal regime for Smart Cities would be optimal. In Phase II the local municipal partner was able to identify several use cases for the ICES data that would support local policy making; access to these data was considered a critical enabler to improved evidence-based decision making.
Conclusion / Implications
Allowing municipal policy makers to use data under a complimentary framework to a new legal regime, may improve policy and produce direct economic impact for municipalities where evidence needed for decision-making is lacking; representing a practical step forward towards Smart Cities.
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