Twenty Years of Data Linkage in The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

Main Article Content

Colleen Loos
Gita Mishra
Annette Dobson
Leigh Tooth


Linked health record collections, when combined with large longitudinal surveys, are a rich research resource to inform policy development and clinical practice across multiple sectors.

Objectives and Approach
The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) is a national study of over 57,000 women in four cohorts. Survey data collection commenced in 1996. Over the past 20 years, ALSWH has also established an extensive data linkage program.

The aim of this poster is to provide an overview of ALSWH’s program of regularly up-dated linked data collections for use in parallel with on-going surveys, and to demonstrate how data are made widely available to research collaborators.

ALSWH surveys collect information on health conditions, ageing, reproductive characteristics, access to health services, lifestyle, and socio-demographic factors. Regularly updated linked national and state administrative data collections add information on health events, health outcomes, diagnoses, treatments, and patterns of service use.

ALSWH’s national linked data collections, include Medicare Benefits Schedule, Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, the National Death Index, the Australian Cancer Database, and the National Aged Care Data Collection. State and Territory hospital collections include Admitted Patients, Emergency Department and Perinatal Data. There are also substudies, such as the Mothers and their Children’s Health Study (MatCH), which involves linkage to children’s educational records.

ALSWH has an internal Data Access Committee along with systems and protocols to facilitate collaborative multi-sectoral research using de-identified linked data.

Conclusion / Implications
As a large scale Australian longitudinal multi-jurisdictional data linkage and sharing program, ALSWH is a useful model for anyone planning similar research.

Article Details

How to Cite
Loos, C., Mishra, G., Dobson, A. and Tooth, L. (2020) “Twenty Years of Data Linkage in The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 5(5). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v5i5.1500.

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