BioGrid Australia provide infrastructure for research currently spanning 16 hospital-based clinical institutions and 50 databases across Victoria, Australia. To-date BioGrid have utilised a probabilistic record linkage engine (Sun Oracle Java CAPS eIndex) that utilises patient identifiers (albeit in a secure manner) during record linkage. BioGrid are now incorporating privacy-protecting record linkage technology from the University of Melbourne Rural Health Academic Centre (GRHANITE™). For the first time in Australia, the GRHANITE™technology is allowing primary care data linkage projects to happen on a large scale (70 sites, 200 planned to date). By utilising GRHANITE™privacy-protecting record linkage technologies, BioGrid are now able to overcome the privacy issues inherent in linking data across national jurisdictional boundaries. By utilising GRHANITE™privacy-protecting record linkage technologies all inter-jurisdictional public health and hospital clinical data collected by BioGrid can be systematically linked to primary care data for research for the first time. This paper describes the architecture of the combined BioGrid and GRHANITE™systems, provides evidence of the efficacy of the linkage technologies and heralds the start of a new era in privacy-protected, record linked research in Australia.
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