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If it’s measured, it matters

Creating a common list of recommended socio-demographic questions and implementation supports for OHT-ÉSO partners.

The Ottawa Health Team-Équipe Santé Ottawa is working to build greater capacity for partners to voluntarily collect and use socio-demographic data to inform the delivery of care. This work is being led by a project sub-group of the OHT-ÉSO’s Performance Measurement Working Group, with staff representation from Centretown Community Health Centre, Ottawa Public Health, and The Ottawa Hospital.

The goal of this initiative is to establish a common list of recommended socio-demographic indicators for voluntary use by OHT-ÉSO partners. This project will also lead to the development of a resource toolkit to support the collection of high-quality data. Resource materials will be developed through consultation with OHT-ÉSO partners and the wider community to develop a recommended set of ethical principles that will guide how data is collected and used. The combination of a common list of indicators and implementation supports will improve our collective capacity to plan and deliver care that addresses health inequities.

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Since work began in early 2023, group members have explored a comprehensive literature review of available socio-demographic data collection tools and have established a clear set of principles and goals to guide the selection of socio-demographic indicators. Through this work, the group has identified ten “socio-demographic data domains” that will be measured through a recommended common list of indicators.

This project will advance the Ottawa Health Team-Équipe Santé Ottawa’s health equity goals and aims to have a positive impact at both the point of care and across the local health care system. Having access to more client and patient socio-demographic data is an important enabler of patient-centred care, while having comprehensive population-level socio-demographic data will help in the planning and delivery of health care that identifies and addresses existing inequities.

With a set of socio-demographic data domains now confirmed, group members have held a series of planning retreats to finalize the full series of indicators and their supporting data definitions. Once the selection of indicators has been completed, the group will start looking at the development of implementation supports, including a data collection resource toolkit and guidelines for the ethical use of client/patient socio-demographic data.

Interested in learning more about this work and how it can help your organization? Contact Liam McGuire at

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