Data Management and Oversight

Requests for health data held by the BC Ministry of Health (MoH) are managed by specific bodies to ensure disclosures of information are adjudicated appropriately. Depending on the data being requested, different processes apply.

The Data Stewardship Committee

In recognition of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the value of research in improving health care outcomes, the Data Stewardship Committee (DSC) will prioritize consideration of requests for PharmaNet data access for research related to declared Public Health Emergencies.

The DSC is established under the E-Health (Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy) Act. The committee members are appointed by the Minister of Health, and are responsible for managing the disclosure of information contained in a health information bank or a prescribed MoH database. The Pharmaceutical Services Act also mandates that the disclosure of PharmaNet data for research purposes is adjudicated by the DSC.

Anyone seeking data contained in PharmaNet, a health information bank or a prescribed ministry database for research purposes must submit a request via Population Data BC. Population Data BC provides support for academic researchers requesting access to PharmaNet or a health information bank. If the DSC approves the request, the health information bank or the prescribed database administrator may disclose the requested information, subject to any conditions set by the committee or administrator.

The DSC also provides oversight on behalf of the MoH in endorsing academic research requests to contact, in coordination with the approval process of the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia.

DSC Data Access

Annual Reports

Per the E-Health Act, the DSC must at least once each year, report to the minister respecting:

Health Information Banks

The following health information banks have been established by the minister in accordance with the E-Health Act. The Provincial Laboratory Information Solution Repository is not currently available for data access requests.

The Health Data Council

The Health Data Council (HDC) is responsible for reviewing cross-organizational data access requests prior, where applicable, to their review by the DSC.  Requests reviewed by the HDC are assessed against the 5 safes to make informed decisions when protecting data privacy and security and making decisions that benefit the people of BC. 

The 5 safes are as follows:

Health Data Council - 5 Safes