In Flying Blind 2, we have been highlighting the tortuous route of the researcher’s journey, as they negotiate the ethics processes and the myriad data sources required for their research. In the next few blogs, Australian health and medical researchers who have been through the journey, present real-life case studies and back-of-the-envelope calculations of what it takes to identify existing data sets and negotiating the ethics processes, to link the data sets to support their research.
Data is the primary resource - the life blood - that drives evidence-based health and medical (H&M) research. Traditionally, data collected explicitly for a clinical trial, designed to answer specific questions on behavioural or bio-medical questions, served as the primary research data for H&M researchers. This practice started when administrative health data was not readily available in computable electronic format.
An earlier post highlighted several of the difficulties that Australian researchers face. One of the most prominent of these is related to accessing health and medical research (HMR) data.