Data Matters

Why Data Matters

Data is important for human and health services because it helps with decision-making that is free from judgment and favouritism. Data is also key in identifying social disparities in health outcomes and social determinants of health across different populations. Using data to help make decisions for planning, monitoring, and evaluation of programs and services helps us to:

  • Ensure quality programming is available to those who need it most
  • Monitor how effective our programs and services are at achieving the results we want
  • Identify solutions
  • Secure funding
  • Be strategic in our planning
  • Identify what we are doing well, and areas for improvement
  • Be the most efficient with the resources that are available

There are many different types of data that can be used as evidence to inform decision making. This can include:

  • Research
  • Public Health resources
  • Community and political preference and actions
  • Community health issues, local context

If you’re using data, it’s important to have data literacy. Data literacy is your ability to get meaningful information from data. It involves having the skills to read, analyze, interpret, visualize, and communicate data, as well as understand the use of data in decision-making. This involves assessing the quality of data, protecting, and securing data, and being responsible and ethical when using data.

Want to know more?

The First Nations Principles of OCAP® – The First Nations Information Governance Centre (

Engagement, governance, access, and protection (EGAP) framework | National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (

Using Data and Shared Measurement in Collective Impact – Collective Impact Forum

National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools: Evidence-Informed Decision Making

Measuring Health Equity – Demographic Data Collection (

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