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Navigating the PHRN data application process for Data Researchers

The Population Health Research Network (PHRN) is a national network of data linkage units, a secure data laboratory, and e-research services that support researchers’ access to linked population data. It is a national collaboration that enables existing data from around Australia to be brought together and made available for important research.

The need

Each data linkage unit (DLU) across Australia has its own linkage application process and the aim of this project was two-fold:

  1. Support researchers across Australia in navigating data linkage services and understanding linkage concepts and processes.
  2. Bring a level of consistency to the linkage application process across the DLUs.

The learning solution

In partnership with the Research Data Services team based at the Department of Health (WA), we designed an online learning module that would provide participants with the knowledge and skills required to plan linked data projects and successfully navigate the application process.

The online learning covered the following key topics:

  • Understanding the Population Health Research Network
  • What type of data can be linked
  • How data are collected
  • What is data linkage and how has it had a significant impact on health services
  • Data linkage methods
  • Assessing the quality of linked data
  • What impacts the costs and timeframes of a data linkage application
  • The design and feasibility of a data linkage project
  • How to define a cohort
  • Protecting privacy
  • Governance roles and responsibilities
  • Applying for linked data in single-, multi-, or cross-jurisdictions
  • Jurisdiction-based data linkage application processes

Project team