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If you want to link Commonwealth data, you must use an Integrating Authority.

The AIHW is an international leader in data linkage (also called data integration), and is one of only two accredited Integrating Authorities in Australia. This means we have met stringent criteria covering project governance, capability, and data management.  We can integrate Commonwealth data for high-risk research projects because we uphold privacy and confidentiality.

Our legislation enables us to provide researchers with secure access to data or information about vital health topics.

All governments in Australia agree that, while protecting privacy, data should be more freely available so that it is more widely, efficiently, and innovatively used. Australia has rich data sources that offer great potential to gain greater insights into health issues to improve and save lives.

As an Integrating Authority the AIHW is responsible for ensuring data for each research project is managed and governed soundly. This includes complying with the Privacy Act 1988 and ensuring the data is kept secure.

The AIHW abides by the principles for data integration involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes, and the best practice guidelines

We are also a member of the Population Health Research Network (PHRN), an Australian Government collaboration that has built a nationwide data linkage infrastructure capable of securely and safely managing health information from around Australia.  This includes state and Commonwealth data.

Ensuring security via the Data Integration Services Centre

The AIHW performs data linkage through the Data Integration Services Centre (DISC), a physically secure area within the AIHW that can only be accessed by authorised, specialist staff.

Within the Data Integration Services Centre, all data integration projects are conducted on a separate secure network.

Once the data has been linked, researchers can access it:

  • via a remote access computing environment (the Secure Unified Research Environment, or SURE, managed by the Sax Institute).

The Data Integration Services Centre is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Education Investment Fund Super Science Initiative (EIF-SSI), National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) and Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (CRIS).