Better Data, Please

After launching the Monitoring COVID-19 in Canada Dashboard, I sat down with my colleagues from the Ontario Veterinary College to reflect on some of the challenges we faced bringing it to life. We recently published our thoughts as part of the Canadian Science Policy Centre’s featured editorial series, Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic and its Impacts.

In previous posts about COVID-19, I’ve included a caveat that any of the analyses and visualizations produced tell only a part of the entire story. While there are many reasons for this, an important consideration is the many underlying challenges associated with collecting, sharing, and accessing data that are timely, consistent, and complete – particularly in the midst of a crisis.

As we have learned and continue to learn more about the virus that causes COVID-19, it is absolutely expected that our responses have and will continue to evolve. This includes how we collect and share data that are so critical to understanding the disease and how it spreads. And while our response to the pandemic has undoubtedly saved lives, COVID-19 presents an opportunity to learn where we might improve our data sharing and management systems so that we are better prepared to respond to the next pandemic.

You can find our thoughts and recommendations on this issue by jumping to the editorial Better Data, More Lives Saved here. The article was authored with my colleagues, Dr. Theresa Bernardo (IDEXX Chair in Emerging Technologies and Preventive Healthcare), and Kurtis Sobkowich (PhD student – epidemiology), both from the Department of Population Medicine in the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.

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