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Primary Health Care Subsets

The Primary Health Care Subsets are intended to support implementation of the Draft Pan-Canadian Primary Health Care Electronic Medical Record Content Standard, Version 2.1—Implementation Guide (PHC EMR CS). In order to facilitate the standardization of data at the Primary Health Care (PHC) point of service, as well interoperability, health system use and clinical decision support, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) in collaboration with jurisdictions and Canada Health Infoway with clinician input, led the development of the PHC EMR CS.

The PHC Subsets provide implementers with a list of allowable coded values to be collected at the point of service systems, supporting 48 coded data elements outlined in the content standard. When implemented in EMRs, the PHC Subsets will yield data that enables EMR functionality and provides information that can be used to improve both the quality of patient care and the management of the broader health care system. They are designed to support both primary health care and health system use. 

Primary Health Care (PHC) Subsets
(Candidate pan-Canadian Standard)


Subsets are available for the following:

  • Client Demographic Information: Client Identifier Type Code; Client Identifier Assigning Authority Code, Highest Level Education Code, Housing Status Code; Language Code; Client Status Code; Ethnicity Code
  • Provider Information: Provider Identifier Type Code; Provider Identifier Assigning Authority Code; Provide Role Code; Provider Expertise Code
  • Encounter: Client Reason for Encounter Code; Encounter Type Code; Encounter Pay or Source Code; Encounter Payment Type Code; Health Concern Code; Family History Social Behaviour Code; Intervention Code; Family Member Relationship Code; Client Social Behaviour Code;  Referral Service Code; Service Delivery Location Code
  • Laboratory: Observation Orderable Lab Type; Observation Resultable Lab Type; Laboratory Observation Unit of Measure Code
  • Allergy and Intolerance:  Allergy Intolerance Type Code; Non Drug Allergen Code; Allergy Intolerance Severity Code; Allergy Intolerance Status Code
  • Medication and Vaccine: Medication Prescribed Dose Unit of Measure Code; Medication Prescribed Adherence Code; Vaccine Administered Name Code; Reason Vaccine Not Administered Code
  • Observation:  Blood Pressure Anatomical Location Code; Blood Pressure Body Position Code; Representative Blood Pressure Reading Code; Unit of Measure Codes for Height, Weight and Waist Circumference
  • Intervention: Intervention Code; Reason Intervention Refused Code
  • Facilitate the actual use of a reference terminology by providing a list specific to an identified need
  • Efficient data capture and retrieval

  • Improved quality of the data captured through the use of consistent and correct terms
  • Enhanced patient safety through the use of concepts that are relevant to the specific use

  • Facilitates decision support
  • Provides jurisdictions with extracts of information that will lead to quality improvements in patient care and the broader health care system
  • The following code systems are used in the PHC Subsets:
    • ISO 639-3
    • UCUM
    • pCLOCD


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* Status Definitions

Canadian Draft for Use (CDFU) - The standard has been developed but it may or may not be implemented or be in use. The standard is considered ready to be used by early adopters: however, change is probable as stakeholders begin using the standard in implementations.

Canadian Approved Standards (CAS) - The standard is in use for the purpose(s) or context(s) for which it was intended. Only those parts of the standard that have been implemented or are in use can progress for consideration as CAS. This decision point signifies that the standard has reached a level of stability and is comprehensive enough such that major changes are not expected.

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