Alberta government looking for help to design digital health data warehouse

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro speaking at the UCP annual general meeting on December 1, 2019. Adam MacVicar / Global News

The provincial government hopes to find a vendor to design a new digital health data warehouse.

Officials hope the new system can drive research and innovation to help enhance the health system, as well as create a safer platform for storing data.

“Alberta is joining other leading jurisdictions by developing a data-sharing environment and process with real-world applications,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said.

“Improving access to data in a safe, secure and strategic way with government partners, academics and health organizations will mean we can drive investment, cutting-edge research and development to help improve health outcomes.”

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Right now, the current system holds up to 35 years of health information. The data of Alberta citizens will not be for sale, the province said in a news release Thursday.

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With the new design, the province said it plans to leverage the existing data warehouse to grant safer access to certain health organizations, select provincial government ministries, researchers, and data analysts.

The province said the academic sector, as well as organizations such as Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Medical Association and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, will have secure access to the data.

“We are very excited at the prospect of an enhanced data storage system and accompanying strategy for our province,” Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn, dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry at the University of Alberta, said.

“A major strength in Alberta is the access our researchers have to valuable health data, allowing them to conduct high-quality medical research that advances the health outcomes of Albertans.”

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Interested vendors will have one month to submit their proposals. The provincial government said it’s also open to private-sector partners who want to invest in research.

The government aims to have the new data warehouse ready for use this fall.

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