a1 Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada
a2 Water-Health Nexus, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, Hamilton, ON, Canada
a3 Medical Officer of Health, Labrador-Grenfell Health Region, Goose Bay, NL, Canada
The lack of high-quality health information for accurately estimating burdens of disease in some Aboriginal populations is a challenge for developing effective and relevant public health programmes and for health research. We evaluated data from a health registry system that captured patient consultations, provided by Labrador Grenfell Health (Labrador, Canada). The goal was to evaluate the registry's utility and attributes using modified CDC guidelines for evaluating surveillance systems. Infectious gastrointestinal illness data were used as a reference syndrome to determine various aspects of data collection and quality. Key-informant interviews were conducted to provide information about system utility. The study uncovered limitations in data quality and accessibility, resulting in region-specific recommendations including conversion to an electronic system. More generally, this study emphasized how a systematic and standardized evaluation of health registry systems can help address challenges to obtaining quality health data in often remote areas where many Aboriginal communities are found.
(Accepted November 05 2010)
(Online publication December 07 2010)