The Bureau d’information et d’études en santé des populations (BIESP) at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ) (Gagnon, Rochette and Plante, 2017) developed the Québec Integrated Chronic Disease Surveillance System (QICDSS). It stems from the twinning of five health - administrative databases (Blais et al., 2014):
- the health insurance registry (Fichier d'inscription des personnes assurées [FIPA]);
- the hospital inpatient and day surgery database (Système de maintenance et d’exploitation des données pour l’étude de la clientèle hospitalière [MED-ÉCHO]);
- the vital statistics death database (Fichier des décès du Registre des événements démographiques [RED]);
- the physician claims database (Fichier des services médicaux rémunérés à l'acte);
- the pharmaceutical services database (Fichier des services pharmaceutiques).1.
The QICDSS has covered the total population of Québec since January 1, 1996 and is updated annually. The most recent data in the system usually date from the preceding year, except for data in the death registry, which sometimes go back five years, since it is data from the closed (final) database that are used.
The QICDSS stands out from population-based surveys since its populational coverage is very high except for some sub-populations, contrary to samples in the surveys. Consent is not necessary and the QICDSS allows for accurate location with a six-position postal code of the home address. However, the data are not available in real time. The system is updated roughly once a year and it is sometimes necessary to wait several months after the disaster to conduct analyses.
Only certain individuals at the INSPQ can access this surveillance system. However, certain QICDSS indicators are disseminated on the Infocentre de santé publique portal (to obtain additional information on the Infocentre, please visit Infocentre de santé publique – PNS tab). Furthermore, it is possible to submit a request for support to the BIESP through an online access point.
Individuals who assume responsibility for the population in the realm of health and social services can specify through the access point specific needs for the production, interpretation or use of data on the health status of the population, insofar as this falls within the scope of the BIESP’s range of activities (INSPQ, 2018).