Facebook Pixel Code
About Sickkids
About SickKids

July 25, 2014

OASIS marks a decade of success in asthma surveillance

By Mackenzie Hill-Strathy

The Ontario Asthma Surveillance Information System (OASIS) is marking its 10th anniversary. The innovative population-based surveillance system is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and led by Dr. Teresa To, Senior Scientist in the Research Institute’s program for Child Health Evaluative Sciences and Professor at the Dalla Lana Graduate School of Public Health.

See caption
Teresa To, Senior Scientist and Director of OASIS

During the past decade OASIS has collected data on more than two million Ontarians with asthma, and used this information to help improve the treatment and control of asthma.   

OASIS was founded after the death of 18 year-old Joshua Fluelling in 2000 from an asthma attack. The Ontario government announced $4 million of annual funding in January 2002 to implement the Asthma Plan of Action that would address gaps in knowledge about asthma.  Subsequently, OASIS was started as one part of this plan. 

“Ten years ago we treaded into unknown territory,” said To. “Today, the OASIS database has matured into an entity that has been recognized as a prototype for population surveillance.”

OASIS’ major accomplishment is the creation of a system to monitor asthma morbidity. It has also gathered a set of indicators to measure quality of care and provided learning opportunities for students and trainees. At the outset the system focused on a paediatric population but the cohort was gradually expanded to include individuals of all ages. It is used at 11 primary care sites in Ontario. 

“OASIS data has provided valuable epidemiologic information regarding outcomes of individuals with asthma and a variety of indicators of asthma performance,” said Dr. Diane Lougheed, Clinician-Scientist in the Department of Medicine at Queen’s University and Respirologist and Director of the Asthma Program at the Kingston General Hospital.  

While at first OASIS concentrated on establishing the database, the team is now building partnerships and collaborations with various groups including the Ministry of the Environment, Health Canada, and most recently the Ontario subset of the Canadian National Breast Screening study to determine the relationship between risk factors and asthma in women.

“One of our future goals is for OASIS to be used as a model to develop a national asthma surveillance system for Canada,” says To.

Learn more about OASIS.