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Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN)

Providing essential data

Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN)

The MaRNet-FP/CPCSSN team

Principal investigator: Dr. Nandini Natarajan
Co-investigators Dr. Wayne Putnam and Dr. Fred Burge
Epidemiologist: Nirupa Varatharasan
Data Manager: Sarah Sabri

The Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) is an electronic medical record (EMR) based information system established for chronic disease surveillance.

Funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) until 2015, it has brought together 10 community-based primary care research networks (PBRN) across the country (see figure 1) and institutional partners including academic research centres and departments, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). 

Each PBRN collects EMR data from participating family practices within the network and sends the anonymized patient data to a central repository at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario.

The patient data is merged and is currently being used to provide epidemiological information on chronic disease (diabetes, hypertension, COPD, osteoarthritis, depression, parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and dementia) in order to improve the health care of Canadians. The database is now available to be used to conduct research on many acute and chronic health conditions.

The Maritime Family Practice Research Network (MaRNet-FP) is one of the participating PBRNs of CPCSSN. We are located in the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University.

MaRNet-FP is currently extracting anonymized data on patients with chronic diseases from participating family physician and nurse practitioner practices using the Nightingale EMR. 

As of the end of June 2013 there are 53 Family Physicians and Nurse Practitioner practices and 87000 patients from three district health authorities in Nova Scotia participating in MaRNet-FP. 

One of the key features of MaRNet-FP is its relationship with the participating family physician and nurse practitioners. The network provides regular individualized feedback on chronic disease management to participating health care providers. Currently, MaRNet-FP is sharing the information gained through knowledge translation to key informants and conducting research on the data being collected.

The network has the support of Primary Healthcare Information Management, Health Information Technology Services, Nova Scotia. MaRNet-FP currently has REB approval from 3 districts (CDHA, CDA and GASHA). We are continuing to expand our network to other NS communities, NB and PEI.

Publications:

Williamson T , Natarajan N , Barber D , Jackson D , Greiver M, "Caring for the whole practice: The future of primary care.", Canadian Family Physician,59(7); 2013 (July). View the publication.

Keshavjee K, Williamson T, Natarajan N, Stafford K, "Canada's chronic disease surveillance network is now live.", Canadian Healthcare Technology, 18(4), 21-22. View the publication [PDF - 48 KB]

Presentations:

Green M, Williamson T, Khan S, Birtwhistle R, Wong S, Natarajan N, Manca D, Drummond N, "Validating the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) algorithms for eight chronic diseases.", Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHSPR), May 2013, Vancouver BC.

Natarajan N, VanAarsen K, Varatharasan N, Sabri N, Putnam W."Validating the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) case detection algorithm for hypertension using Nova Scotia EMR data", Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CAHPSR), May 2013, Vancouver BC.

VanAarsen K, Natarajan N, Sabri S, Putnam W. "Collaborative practice with a nurse practitioner in primary care: Provider continuity of care and chronic disease prevention and management", 40th North American Primary Care Research Group, Dec 2012, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Sabri S, Natarajan N, Van Aarsen K, Putnam W., "Using clinical encounter diagnosis codes versus billing diagnosis codes in identifying patients with chronic disease. ", 39th North American Primary Care Research Group Annual Conference (NAPCRG) Annual Meeting, Nov 2011, Banff AB.

Sabri S, Van Aarsen K, Natarajan N, Putnam W, "The impact of inflated denominator on prevalence of chronic disease: Nova Scotia experience with CPCSSN data.", Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research (CASPHR) Annual meeting, May 2011, Halifax NS.