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Appl Clin Inform. 2013 Jan 9;4(1):1-11. doi: 10.4338/ACI-2012-10-CR-0041. Print 2013.

Developing a tool to assess the quality of socio-demographic data in community health centres.

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Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto.



The objectives of this study are to 1) create a quality assessment tool for socio-demographic data aligned with the needs of Community Health Centres (CHCs) and based on the data quality framework of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), and 2) test the feasibility of the tool in CHCs.


The tool was developed based on both theoretical and practical knowledge. A review of the literature was performed to identify data quality frameworks and dimensions that could be employed. In addition, informal discussions with Community Health Centres staff members holding various positions were conducted and a team of subject matter experts was established. This approach supported the alignment between the tool (i.e., the indicators developed, the rating scale, and weighting system) and the setting for which it has been designed. The tool was pilot tested in five CHCs across Ontario.


The decision to focus on socio-demographic data was based on findings from the discussions with staff members. The team established nine principles for the development of the tool, including the use of computer software, whenever possible, to query the data and ensure consistency of the measurement. Data quality scores ranged from 45 to 74 on a scale of 0 (lowest quality) to 100 (highest data quality), with one CHC that was not able to run all of the queries. The feedback from staff was positive and supports the feasibility of the tool as an application of the CIHI data quality framework in a local setting.


Pilot test results demonstrate the feasibility of the tool and an applicability of the CIHI framework as a basis for developing tools for data quality assessment in health care organizations.


Data quality; assessment; electronic health records; primary care

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