Data Linkage

It is often necessary to link data sets in order to answer important research questions. For example, there is the potential to discover results of great clinical value by linking primary care data with oncology data from tertiary care settings. Data linkage is also essential when investigating questions that cross professional boundaries, such as healthcare and education.

Pseudonymous linkage projects

ResearchOne data is linked to external data sets via a pseudonymisation process – this allows for linkage without any identifiable information ever being handled. The process may utilise the OpenPseudonymiser method, developed by the University of Nottingham in full consultation with experts in medical database research, including members of the ResearchOne team.

The ResearchOne Project Committee review linkage requests to ensure the maintenance of privacy and that the research is meaningful.  For your project to be considered, please fill in and submit an Expression of Interest from the Documentation page.

Consented linkage projects

A project may have patient and organisation consent, or Section 251 approval, to link data from patient records and other sources in an identifiable format.  The non-identifiable ResearchOne database cannot be used for such projects.  Subject to approval and consent, we may provide such data from SystmOne.

Further information

Greater detail is available on the OpenPseudonymiser website or at the National Institute for Health Research. The implementation of this process in ResearchOne is outlined in the database summary.

We expect to utilise the new NHS Health & Social Care Information Centre’s Data Linkage Service. The opportunity to link to the important, quality data sets which will be held by the centre offers the potential for exciting new research projects.

If you have any specific data linkage questions then please contact us.