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Participant/patient information

Summary of the study

This research study undertaken by Queensland Health and partners aims to answer vital questions about which medical conditions, medicines and other health characteristics are more likely to make patients infected with COVID-19 develop mild, moderate, or severe forms of the disease.

All of our evidence to date has come primarily from overseas countries who were ahead of us in the pandemic, but not Australia. It is essential that we obtain local data as patient outcomes may be very different in Australia.

We can do this by obtaining copies of all consented patients’ health records who had COVID-19 in Queensland and combining them together for research analyses. By health records we mean those held in hospitals and general practices.

In order to access to these records, we need patient consent. This means we will be contacting all patients who had COVID-19 and inviting them to participate in the study. By giving consent, this will allow us to contact each patient’s general practice and ask their GP to securely transfer a copy of that patient’s health record to Queensland Health where it can be combined with their other health information.

The study has registered Human Ethics Committee approval and is compliant with all privacy legislation.

  • This study requires patient consent. Contact will be made with patients in Queensland who have, or have had, infection with COVID-19.
  • Patients will be sent an information pack containing information about the study.
  • Patients will be contacted by phone to discuss the study and then invited to provide consent for Queensland Health to obtain a copy of the participants’ identifiable health information held within their general practice, to link and store it with their health information in Queensland Health, and to use it for unspecified but ethically approved research related to COVID-19.
  • Patients will also be invited to give consent for re-contact by the project team to discuss participation in future unspecified but ethically-approved COVID-19-related research. This establishes a basis for additional important research that may require biospecimens, which are likely to play an important role in determining patient outcomes.
  • Patient health information provided by general practices will be securely transferred to Queensland Health in an encrypted format via a secure file transfer. The health information will contain patient identifiers as this is required to perform linkage with the health information contained within Queensland Health. The personal information is for linking purposes only and will not be made available to researchers analysing the data. All data provided to the researchers for analysis will be de-identified.
  • For further information please contact the ATHENA COVID-19 Coordination Centre on: 07 3184 4167 or email:

Participants – Why Support the Queensland Health ATHENA COVID-19 Study?

  1. The study will answer vital questions about which medical conditions, medicines and other health characteristics make you more likely to develop mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19 in our population.
  2. The health information within general practices holds key information to better understand how COVID-19 impacts our population. Currently they remain isolated within your general practice. Sharing them with any health records you may have within Queensland Health would provide an invaluable resource to help health researchers further understand COVID-19. We need your permission to ask your GP clinic to send Queensland Health your health information and to allow researchers to analyse the combined health information.
  3. Any health information provided to health researchers is de-identified. De-identification means removing identifying information from the data and samples i.e. you will be known to these researchers by a code and not by your name
  4. The study has the support of Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, the Queensland Health Chief Health Officer and all 7 Queensland Primary Health Networks.
  5. The study has registered Human Ethics Committee approval and is compliant with all privacy legislation.


Last updated: 4 January 2021