Data linkage in australia: The first 50 years

Merran Smith, Felicity Flack

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Population-based data linkage has a long history in Australia from its beginnings in Western Australia in the 1970s to the coordinated national data linkage infrastructure that exists today. This article describes the journey from an idea to a national data linkage network which has impacts on the health and well-being of Australians from preventing developmental anomalies to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many enthusiastic and dedicated people have contributed to Australia’s data linkage capability over the last 50 years. They have managed to overcome a number of challenges including gaining stakeholder and community support; navigating complex legal and ethical environments; establishing cross-jurisdictional collaborations, and gaining ongoing financial support. The future is bright for linked data in Australia as the infrastructure built over the last 50 years provides a firm foundation for further expansion and development, ensuring that Australia’s linked health and human services data continues to be available to address the evolving challenges of the next half century.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11339
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


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