Health Care Evaluation in a Government Agency: Goals, Organization, and Software

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The demands on the Manitoba Health Services Commission to provide timely data to assist government, health boards, planners and service providers have been increasing. Users have wanted a system to provide easy manipulation of data to address questions of cost containment without compromising quality of care, of difference in utilization across areas, and of program evaluation. Such problems are similar across provinces, as are the data sets available to address them -- hospital admissions/separations, physician claims, personal care home records, and so forth. The Manitoba Health Services Commission is setting up an Information Centre to instruct potential end users on data base availability, restrictions on access, software, and so on. Users will be running the Health Applications System (HAS) in combinations with the well-known Statistical Analysis System (SAS) to do their own data analysis. Analysts will be able to address issues singled out b Statistics Canada as top priority information needs: health care utilization, hospital morbidity, and mortality. An effort will be made to feed back information to hospitals and providers; the critical task is to use available analytic tools to help provide constructive direction to the health care system.

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