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AIHW National Death Index

The National Death Index (NDI) is a database, housed at the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), which contains records of all deaths occurring in Australia since 1980. These data are obtained from the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages in each State and Territory. The Index is designed to facilitate the conduct of epidemiological studies and its use is strictly confined to medical research.


BioGrid Australia and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare formed a partnership in 2012 to provide a much needed service for medical research efforts across Australia. This partnership provides a streamlined approach for researchers to access the AIHW National Death Index to obtain date and cause of death information for their defined project. 


Project Specific Linkage to NDI 

BioGrid uses a Unique Subject Identifier (USI) number to identify patients’ demographic and clinical records. In order to facilitate research and for researchers to link patient records across databases, BioGrid usually shares the USI number with authorised researchers. 


AIHW required for this partnership that linkage to the NDI would be project specific linkage, in other words, patients in the project cohort would be given project specific identifiers (PID) that are unique to each project. This fulfils BioGrid’s requirement under the AIHW agreement that:

  • Identifiers are unique within the given project,
  • Identifiers are generated randomly for each project,
  • Identifiers do not have any co-relation between two different projects and
  • Identifiers cannot be reverse engineered to identify USI numbers.

This has resulted in BioGrid providing PID numbers for each approved AIHW project.


NDI Linkage Cost

AIHW charges an ethics fee as well as a linkage fee for each project. BioGrid has negotiated favourable terms for its members, this includes both the ethics and linkage fees as well as BioGrid assisting with and managing your application for access and facilitating the linkage with AIHW. Contact BioGrid regarding the fee.


Applying for Access to NDI Data

Each project wishing to access NDI data must submit an application for access to the AIHW Ethics Committee. Five ethics committee meetings take place each year, usually in February, May, July, September and December. Submissions are accepted approximately one month prior to the meeting dates.

As BioGrid will assist you with your application to the AIHW Ethics Committee, we will require you to submit your application to BioGrid two to three weeks before the AIHW submission date, as below. We have successfully conducted linkage projects under this arrangement and we look forward to assisting members with future projects. The remaining meetings for 2019 are detailed below.
14 May 2019                 (12 April 2019 AIHW submission;  22 March 2019 BioGrid submission)    
23 July 2019                 (14 June 2019 AIHW submission;  24 May 2019 BioGrid submission)    
01 October 2019          (23 August 2019 AIHW submission;  02 August 2019 BioGrid submission)   
10 December 2019       (01 November 2019 AIHW submission;  11 October 2019 BioGrid submission)    

If you have a project that you would like to access accurate date and cause of death for a specific research project, apply for access through the BioGrid Access Request System. The NDI is listed as a dataset to apply for access. BioGrid will then assist you with the application for submission to the AIHW Ethics Committee under our streamlined process with AIHW. 
Please note the submission date for the relevant meeting and ensure that you submit in time for BioGrid to be able to assist you. For more information please contact BioGrid.