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Understanding multimorbidity in primary health care

dianagosalvez Diana Gosálvez Prados last modified 27/11/2015 10:52

Quantitative and qualitative research has documented the burden of multimorbidity on patients, caregivers, providers, and broader health and social systems in developed countries

Nicholson K, Terry AL, Fortin M, Williamson T, Thind A. Understanding multimorbidity in primary health care. Can Fam Physician. 2015 Oct;61(10):918. Available at: http://www.cfp.ca/content/61/10/918.long



While qualitative research can provide much-needed insight into individual patients, quantitative research allows us to examine multimorbidity in large groups. Electronic medical record (EMR) data are key to a population-level, yet clinical, understanding of these complex patients. Internationally, EMRs are increasingly forming databases of longitudinal, point-of-care information for thousands, even millions, of patients. The Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN) is currently the only pan-Canadian EMR database. It collects de-identified health information on primary health care (PHC) patients with chronic diseases across the country; these data unite a public health and PHC perspective (point-of-care data combined into a population-level data set).4 CPCSSN EMR data, from more than 1 million patients, are extracted quarterly and provide real-time insight into PHC patients’ ongoing health issues and health care use, holding information not available through population surveys or administrative databases. This uniqueness demands that researchers manage, analyze, and interpret the data appropriately.

Nicholson K, Terry AL, Fortin M, Williamson T, Thind A.