The purposes for which access to linkable health and related data will be provided are:
- To facilitate research which may contribute to the promotion, protection and maintenance of the health of the public;
- To facilitate the planning, evaluation and delivery of health services; and
- To contribute to knowledge regarding research methodologies relating to health data collection, linkage of health-related data and compilation and use of health related statistics generally.
Linkable health and related data will be provided to:
- Researchers with the appropriate experience, qualifications, facilities and funding to conduct the proposed research;
- Students and early career data users who are part of a research team with appropriate experience and qualifications; and
- International collaborators, depending on the nature of the project and the form of the data requested.
Prioritisation of Researcher Access
Access by researchers for meritorious research will generally be provided on a first come first served basis. However, the following factors may be taken into consideration when prioritising access:
- Data availability;
- Complexity of project/technical feasibility;
- Public interest;
- Resource availability e.g. funding
- National Health Priority Areas determined by the Australian Health Ministers' Conference; and
- Strategic priorities.
Data linkage requires the use of personal information to make the initial link between data sets and since this is usually done without consent significant legal and ethical issues are engaged. In Australia, research projects using linked data must be approved by three parties:
- the data linkage unit;
- the data custodian responsible for each data set; and
- a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).
The process of obtaining approvals, the order in which approvals must be obtained and the level of assistance provided with data custodian approvals differs between Data Linkage Units. To determine whether approval can be done directly with the data custodian or needs to occur through the DLU contact the local data linkage unit client services officer. Information about the approval process for the jurisdiction(s) from which you are obtaining data can be obtained by visiting the DLU website or by contacting the client services officer. Depending on the Data Linkage Unit involved, client services may offer assistance with data custodian approvals.
Contact details for the client services contact for each jurisdiction is provided here.