12 April 2020 – PANTHR established to securely hold health data

Type of Intervention: New Tool / Service / Body
Sectors Involved: Health
Intervention Categories: Legal and policy; New initiatives; Education and awareness
Level of Jurisdiction: Ontario
Lead People/Agency: Ontario government
Ontario Privacy Commissioner
Minister of Health (Christine Elliot)
President of Treasury Board (Peter Bethlenfalvy)

Overview: The Ontario government has developed a new health data platform called the Pandemic Threat Response (PANTHR) which will hold secure health data that allows researchers to support health system planning and responsiveness. Ontario will appoint a special advisor for the platform and a roundtable to provide recommendations on how to use the data and develop policies to support and overcome barriers to platform development.

PANTHR information will help researchers with increasing COVID-19 detection, understanding risk factors for vulnerable populations, predicting when and where outbreaks may occur, evaluating effectiveness of preventive and treatment measures, and identifying where to allocate equipment and resources. This platform allows health system partners to have access to better, more consistent population data to improve health care decision-making. Data on the PANTHR platform will include: physician claims submitted to Ontario’s Health Insurance Plan, medical drug claims submitted to the Ontario Drug Benefit, discharge summaries of hospital stays and ER visits, claims for home care and long-term care, and clinical data from special registry collections such as the Critical Care Information System.
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/mohltc/en/2020/04/province-developing-new-health-data-platform-to-help-defeat-covid-19.html

Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group
Source of Evidence or Justification: Sub-national, Ontario Privacy Commissioner
Evidence/Justification: The Ontario government developed the PANTHR platform in consultation with the Ontario Privacy Commissioner to support the health system’s COVID-19 response by providing key insights to understand how the virus spreads and the most effective ways to fight it. It will also provide better access to integrated data that will inform policies and procedures for frontline staff. The Minister of Health and President of the Treasury Board described PANTHR as a key tool to improving COVID-19-related modelling, research, and decision-making.