Data linkage in Queensland
Data linkage is a process that is used to combine information that relates to an individual entity from within or across multiple sources.
Data linkage is an efficient way to enhance existing data to increase its usefulness for informing population health and clinical research, policy development and health service planning, management, monitoring and evaluation. For example, data linkage can be used to identify the number of times a person is admitted to any hospital in Queensland in a year or mortality following hospital discharge. The Statistical Services Branch (SSB) has published a number of analyses that are examples of projects based on linked data.
Readmission rates for fall-related injuries (PDF, 285kB)
Variations in end of life care in Queensland (PDF, 97kB)
SSB, in conjunction with the Population Health Research Network (PHRN), has compiled a searchable list of peer-reviewed publications that have used Queensland linked data. A list of research projects utilising SSB data and linkage services is also available.
Linkage uses identifying patient data such as names, date of birth and address but these data are accessed solely for the purposes of linkage. In order to protect patients’ privacy and confidentiality these data items are never released to researchers; instead, project-specific patient identifiers are created for release to researchers to allow them to determine which data relate to an individual. For further information on the data linkage process please see the Queensland Data Linkage Framework and the PHRN animated video 'Let's navigate data linkage.'