April 13, 2020 - Health Sector

Ontario Launches Health Data Platform for COVID-19 Response

A major new health data platform is being developed by the Ontario government as part of an effort to detect, plan and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a press release, the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR) platform is being developed in consultation with the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.  The goal is to provide researchers with access to de-identified, integrated provincial-wide health data on a secure platform to support health system planning and responsiveness, including the immediate need to analyze the current COVID-19 outbreak.

PANTHR is being designed to enable researchers to deploy artificial intelligence and other tools on a secure platform.  The data on the platform will include:

  • Clinical data extracted from public health, hospital, laboratory and diagnostic imaging information systems;
  • Clinical data from special registry collections, such as the Critical Care Information System, which reports on critical care capacity in the province;
  • Discharge summaries of hospital stays and emergency department visits;
  • Physician claims submitted to the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP);
  • Medical drug claims submitted to the Ontario Drug Benefit Program; and
  • Claims for home care and long-term care.

PANTHR follows closely on the heels of recent amendments to Ontario's health privacy and freedom of information legislation, which introduced the concept of "extra-ministerial data integration units".  For more information on these and other related amendments, see our previous AccessPrivacy E-blast, New Power to Issue Administrative Penalties Among Significant Amendments to Ontario’s Health Privacy Legislation

We will be discussing the PANTHR data initiative on our April Privacy Call next week.