Jane Philpott To Help Develop Health Data Platform


By Emmanuel Oluebube

The Ontario government has appointed Dr. Jane Philpott as the special advisor to support the design and implementation of the new Ontario Health Data Platform (formerly known as PANTHR). This data platform will provide recognized researchers and health system partners with access to anonymized health data that will allow them to better detect, plan, and respond to COVID-19. As well, this platform will support projects from the Ontario COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund.

“Dr. Philpott has extensive leadership experience in the healthcare system and her advice will be invaluable as we finalize the creation of the Ontario Health Data Platform,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott. “This data platform will provide our world-class researchers and health system partners with secure access to better and more consistent population data, improving decision-making in healthcare and aiding our efforts to beat COVID-19.”

The Ontario Health Data Platform is being developed in consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner. The information gathered will help break down long-standing barriers and allow researchers to help with:

  • Increasing detection of COVID-19;
  • Discovering risk factors for vulnerable populations;
  • Predicting when and where outbreaks may happen;
  • Evaluating how preventative and treatment measures are working; and
  • Identifying where to allocate equipment and other resources.

As special advisor, Dr. Philpott will also chair the Joint Ministers’ Roundtable and provide recommendations to the Minister of Health and the president of the Treasury Board. The members of the Joint Ministers’ Roundtable include public health, research, privacy and clinical experts. Together, they will provide strong proactive leadership to ensure data is used in a privacy-protected way. The roundtable will participate in a consultation forum that will inform the development of the platform.

“As special advisor and chair of the joint ministers’ roundtable, Dr. Philpott will provide critical insight to support the design and implementation of this secure data platform,” said president of the Treasury Board, Peter Bethlenfalvy. “The Ontario Health Data Platform will be a powerful tool that will help us better understand COVID-19, how it spreads and the most effective means of combatting it.”

Researchers can begin to access the platform in July 2020.

“Whether on the frontlines of healthcare, as a medical educator or in this new role as special advisor, I’m honoured to be part of Ontario’s fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Philpott. “This integrated data platform is an essential element in the province’s response to the pandemic. I look forward to watching how it will facilitate a broad range of health research and support quality improvements in clinical care.”

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