This report has been archived. Content previously included in this report can now be found at COVID-19 register and linked data set and COVID-19 linked data set: Linkage results.

COVID-19 represents an unprecedented health emergency in Australia. The pandemic has led to substantial individual, health system, and broader social and economic effects which will continue to evolve into the future.

Emerging evidence of the medium and long-term effects of COVID-19 presents a need for timely information and monitoring of the health outcomes and health system needs of people who have had a COVID-19 diagnosis.

Collection of data that allow analysis of specific populations, such as those with pre-existing conditions, is vital to informing the community about potential population groups at risk of poorer health outcomes after COVID-19 diagnosis and enabling health systems to identify and manage these cases.

In April 2022, the AIHW was funded $3 million by the Medical Research Future Fund to establish a national linked data platform using existing health data sets to strengthen evidence-based public health and health system planning and management for current and future pandemics.

What is data linkage?

Data linkage is the process of identifying, matching, and merging records that correspond to the same person or entity from several datasets or even within one dataset. 

This improves data completeness and provides a rich person-level source of information beyond that available through routine disease surveillance and single data sources. The AIHW uses robust methods to carry out data linkage, and more information can be found at AIHW’s data linkage services.