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Health data crosses borders

Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor says a new database will help researchers find solutions to health events like the opioid crisis and chronic illnesses that cross provincial boundaries.

While meeting with researchers at the University of British Columbia, Petitpas Taylor announced $81 million in funding over seven years to support the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research Canadian Data Platform.

Dr. Kim McGrail, scientific director for the project, says researchers are often bogged down by administrative work involved in gathering data from provinces that each collect and share in different ways.

She says this database intends to reduce that "painstaking" step by providing a single portal where researchers can request access to administrative, clinical and social data from various sources across the country.

McGrail says analyzing data from across the country can lead to insights that would be impossible if limited to a single province.

The platform is expected to launch in the next two to three months and the funding comes from several sources including Ottawa, the Canadian Institute for Health Research and the University of B.C.

"A streamlined, simplified process for requesting comparable data will create new opportunities for researchers across the country," McGrail says in a statement.



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