The CVDL is Victoria’s specialist data linkage agency and provides data linkage and provisioning services to researchers and other Victorian Government departments. We provide tailored advice on the design, development, feasibility and implementation of linked data research and the costs involved.
The CVDL is an Accredited Data Service Provider under the new Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022, which means we provide complex data integration, deidentification, and secure data access services to support data sharing. High risks projects involving Commonwealth data for statistical and research purposes are undertaken safely and securely.
We create and maintain linkages using two distinct pieces of infrastructure to uphold the separation principle by means of the Victorian Linkage Map (VLM) and the Integrated Data Resource (IDR).
Victorian Linkage Map
The VLM is collection of personal identifiers of all people that have had an interaction with a Victorian Government service e.g. a patient that has been admitted to a Victorian hospital or utilised a Victorian social care service e.g. family support services. The Data Linkage team uses the Victorian Linkage Map to find records belonging to individuals that are included in a project and assign an anonymous Linkage ID that represents an individual.
Integrated Data Resource
The IDR is a de-identified linked data asset of health, human services and other administrative and clinical data relating to people in the VLM. Both systems are highly secure with personal information being stored separately from clinical health or other content data to maintain privacy preserving principles.
The CVDL Integration/Content team uses the Linkage ID to extract the approved content data items from the relevant datasets and creates new project-specific person IDs.
Data de-identification processes are undertaken (aggregation and removal of personal identifiable data) to minimise the risk of re-identification of the data.
Quality assurance is undertaken to ensure the data output meets the requirements of the research request as detailed in the project technical specification. Any additional requests or changes after the linked data output has been released will be considered as a new request and may require an ethics amendment.
Use of personal and health information
Data linkage involves using personal information to locate records that belong to specific individuals across different datasets. The use of personal and health information in Victoria is governed by the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Health Records Act 2001.
The use of personal and health information in data linkage must comply with the Information Privacy Principles and Health Privacy Principles described in these Acts.
Personal information is information or an opinion, whether true or not (including information or an opinion forming part of a database), that is recorded in any form, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained.
Health information is information or an opinion about a person, including:
the physical, mental or psychological health (at any time) of an individual
a disability (at any time) of an individual
an individual's expressed wishes about the future provision of health services to them
a health service provided, or to be provided, to an individual.
Further information on Victorian privacy legislation can be found on the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner's website.
Requests for access to the linked data for research and statistical purposes must be consistent with Information Privacy Principle 2.1(c) and Health Privacy Principle 2.2(g) and the statutory guidelines on research issued by the Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner.