Future developments

The next steps of this project are to improve the coverage of COVID-19 cases, which includes linking more recent case data and linking the remaining jurisdictions’ case information.

As more recent information from the other data sources becomes available e.g., hospitals data, this will be reflected in the linked data as well. Updating the content data regularly will provide a growing longitudinal resource for the original cases, to follow their health journey over time.

Future versions of the data will link the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) data to the COVID-19 Register, which will allow researchers to answer important questions on the impact of COVID-19 in people with a disability. Future stages of this project will continue to look at linking other sources of information to ensure the information can look at the impacts of COVID-19 in other sectors outside the health system.

Towards a streamlined approach to National data linkage

The AIHW currently holds many health and welfare data holdings and frequently receives a high-volume of requests for data linkage services involving these data. To ensure value for money and improve efficiencies, the AIHW research team are keeping abreast of progress in the data linkage space and seek to align with, and make use of, cloud-based national platforms for data sharing, linking and access as they develop. 

For a start, the COVID-19 linked data set has been built to ensure interoperability with existing national data sets that have been used during the pandemic, such as the Census.

In addition, the AIHW is currently looking at developing a National Health Data Hub, which aims to re-use current data infrastructure to support and streamline broader data integration, bring AIHW data holdings together using a modular approach as needed and as approved per project, and most importantly reduce duplication of effort. 

The AIHW and ABS are also working on the Australian National Data Integration Infrastructure (ANDII). This is a national linkage and integration infrastructure built to streamline and reduce the time required to build integrated datasets. More information can be found at: National Disability Data Asset.  

Such national platforms can help facilitate the sharing of data between government agencies as well as facilitate the integration of data from various sources and streamline efforts in data linkage.