Power of Population Data Science Webinar - Achieving quality primary care EMR data: a description of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network data in Alberta

Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Event type: 
12 noon to 1pm MT (11am to 12 noon PST)

All sessions will be delivered live and online via the Gotowebinar system.

Can’t attend the live session? This presentation will be recorded and posted on the PopData's YouTube channel and the International Journal of Population Data Science (IJPDS) website for future reference. We recommend you register for the presentations of your choice so we can send you a link to the latest recorded sessions as they are available.


The proliferation of electronic medical record (EMR) systems in healthcare settings has created an opportunity for these data to be reused for a variety of secondary purposes. Because EMR data are generated for clinical care and administrative functions, they may not be suitable for all intended secondary uses. Assessing EMR data quality is essential to determine whether the data are ‘fit-for-purpose’ and to help identify potential biases and limitations.

This webinar will introduce participants to primary care EMR data from Alberta that are collected as part of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN). CPCSSN is a pan-Canadian collaboration that extracts de-identified EMR data from primary care settings across the country and makes these data available for research and surveillance. The national CPCSSN database contains information from nearly 2 million patients and over 1,500 primary care providers. We will describe the full data lifecycle of CPCSSN data in Alberta including data capture, extraction, and processing. We will then provide a summary of the data quality for select data elements and discuss the advantages and limitations of these data. This webinar is intended to provide more comprehensive and technical information for prospective CPCSSN data users or for those interested in learning how raw EMR data from clinical practice are transformed into useable datasets for analysis.

Related resource links

For Alberta data requests:

For national (Canadian) data requests: https://cpcssn.ca/research-resources/cpcssn-data-for-research/

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View recorded presentation below.



Stephanie GariesStephanie Garies is a PhD candidate in Epidemiology in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Her research is focused on EMR data quality within a context of hypertension surveillance and integrating EMR and administrative data sources. She is also the Assistant Director for the Southern Alberta Primary Care Research Network (SAPCReN) in the Department of Family Medicine, University of Calgary. SAPCReN is a multidisciplinary collaboration of researchers and community-based primary care providers working together to answer relevant questions derived from primary care practice. SAPCReN also hosts the southern Alberta node of the Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network, a pan-Canadian organization that extracts, processes, and makes available de-identified primary care EMR data from participating family physicians and nurse practitioners for research and surveillance purposes..

Michael Cummings

Michael Cummings is a data manager working for the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network (PICHIN) and the Southern Alberta Primary Care Research Network (SAPCReN) in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. His work focuses on creating software solutions for extracting and processing electronic medical record (EMR) data, with an emphasis on minimising the data quality issues inherent to the data.


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Page last revised: August 5, 2020