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Accessing confidential information

Researchers who would like to use identifiable or potentially re-identifiable data held by Pathology Queensland, and they cannot obtain participant consent, can apply for the release of confidential information for the purposes of research under s280 of the Public Health Act 2005 OR s150 of the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011.

Access to Queensland Health information systems

It is NOT possible under either Act for a data custodian to grant non-Queensland Health employees with direct password-protected access to a Queensland Health information system. This includes external researchers and external research bodies seeking access for research purposes and is irrespective of whether or not the individuals involved have been appointed in an ‘honorary’ capacity to a hospital. The information must be ‘given’ to the researcher in each case. This assists to ensure that only data relevant to each researcher’s study is disclosed and that confidential information (for Hospital and Health Boards Act and Public Health Act purposes) or personal information (for Information Privacy Act 1999 (Qld) purposes) of individuals to whom access has not been granted is redacted or inaccessible.

Approval to use confidential health information without patient consent for the purposes of research must be obtained after ethics approval and prior to site authorisation.

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  • Non-Queensland Health researchers as well as non-Queensland Health researchers conducting research with Queensland Health employees wanting access to identifiable or potentially re-identifiable data held by Pathology Queensland, and who cannot obtain participant consent, can make an application under section 280 of the Public Health Act 2005 to seek approval for access from the Director-General of Queensland Health.

    How to apply for confidential information under the Act

    1. Email a completed Public Health Act application form together with your research proposal and HREC approval letter to Pathology Queensland Client Services at PathQldClients@health.qld.gov.au.
    2. Supply any additional information requested to support your application.
    3. Once the application meets our requirements, the Pathology Queensland Data Custodian will endorse the request and email the signed application to you.
    4. Email the endorsed application to the Health Innovation, Investment and Research Office (HIIRO) at PHA@health.qld.gov.au along with the HREC approval.
    5. Submit a copy of the PHA approval letter with the SSA application in Ethics Review Manager (ERM).

    Approval is contingent on the receipt of an annual progress report. Please forward your progress report to PHA@health.qld.gov.au.

    The material or data will be released by Pathology Queensland Client Services following site authorisation from the Pathology Queensland Research Office.

    Need more information?

  • Queensland Health researchers wanting access to identifiable or potentially re-identifiable data held by Pathology Queensland and who cannot obtain participant consent, can make an application under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011 to seek approval for access from the Pathology Queensland Data Custodian.

    Section 150 of the Hospital and Health Boards (HHB) Act provides that a 'designated person' may disclose 'confidential information' to another 'designated person' if the disclosure is for the purpose of 'evaluating, managing, monitoring or planning health services'.

    Section 150 permission is NOT available if collaborating researchers are external to Queensland Health OR where a Queensland Health employee is undertaking the project in another capacity (e.g. university capacity or completing a research higher degree), as they are not undertaking the study in their capacity as a 'designated person' (defined in s139 Hospital and Health Boards Act).

    How to access confidential information under the Act

    1. Email a completed Pathology Queensland data custodian checklist (DOCX, 245.6 KB), research approval and HREC approval letter to Pathology Queensland Client Services at PathQldClients@health.qld.gov.au.
    2. Supply any additional information requested to support your request.
    3. Once your request meets requirements, the Pathology Queensland Data Custodian will endorse the checklist and email a signed copy of it to you.
    4. Submit a copy of the signed Pathology Queensland Data Custodian approval with the SSA form in ERM.

    The material or data will be released by Pathology Queensland Client Services following site authorisation from the Pathology Queensland Research Office.

    Need more information?

    Queensland Health data custodians (PDF, 228.7 KB)

Last updated: 30 July 2021