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Membership and Collaboration Benefits

BioGrid Australia Ltd is a not for profit company limited by guarantee with deductible gift recipient status. Its members are health services, universities and research institutes that utilise this trusted virtual real-time data linkage platform to conduct collaborative multi-site research. 

 

BioGrid specialises in real-time linkage and visualisation of hospital/clinic-based data (i.e. Real-World Data or RWD) that can be analysed against other measures of relevance to generate Real-World Evidence (RWE) providing data insights that can be used to evaluate quality of care, treatment effectiveness and guide clinical decision making. BioGrid's uniqueness in medical research and the benefits to members and collaborators is outlined below.

Unique data governance model incorporating legislative, institutional, custodian and researcher requirements underpinned by:

  • Unique evergreen collaboration agreement with 40 institutions (representing 79 sites across Australia) covering the management of governance, data access, undertaking projects, publications, intellectual property and commercialisation amongst the collaborators.
  • Unique human research ethics and governance framework for national data linkage platform covering systems, methodologies and processes for data linkage, governance, privacy, security and project-specific access in every Australian state and the ACT.

Benefit to Collaborating Institution

  • Resourcing efficiency across legal office, ethics office and researchers – no need to draft, advise or review specific multi-site agreements for each multi-site-specific project as BioGrid evergreen collaboration agreement can be used. 
  • Institutional knowledge and ethical oversight of what data is linked and how their linked data is managed by BioGrid, in particular, data security and patient privacy.
  • Results in cost savings for institutions and consistency across collaborators.

Benefit to Researchers

  • Streamlined governance process – removes need for researchers to advise institution legal and ethics offices (this may be multiple) of specific project data sharing requirements as BioGrid evergreen collaboration agreement can be used for multi-site projects to share data.
  • Utilise BioGrid Access Request System to obtain ethics approval for specific projects – managed by Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) by low risk committee due to ethics approval already in place for linkage of data to BioGrid.
  • Results in shorter lead time to commencement of projects for researchers.

Benefit to Data Custodians

  • Full control over whom and for what purpose their data are accessed. This is managed via the BioGrid online Access Request System, which is overseen by the Melbourne Health HREC on behalf of the BioGrid collaborators.
  • Opportunity to participate in clinical research that they may not have had otherwise.

Unique federated national data linkage platform utilising global vendor hardware and software enabling access to real-time hospital/clinic data across the federation when specific research is authorised.

Benefit to Collaborating Institution

  • Leverage centralised federation infrastructure with no need to build capability internally.
  • All data transfers and linkages are performed over secure and encrypted network connections.
  • Collaborating institution has full control over provision of data for linkage and virtual private network for communication.

Benefit to Researchers

  • Data from multiple sites is possible with data custodian and ethical approval.
  • Access to approved coded data is via remote desktop from anywhere in the world.
  • Access to sophisticated SAS data visualisation, interrogation, analysis and reporting tools to use on data linked through BioGrid.

Benefit to Data Custodians

  • Data is only accessed across the federated platform when authorised researchers have ethical approval for a specific project.
  • Custodian data is not extracted into a central data repository, ensuring custodian retains full control over whom and for what purpose their data are accessed.

Probabilistic identity matching or exact matching using a cryptographic hashing function is conducted on all records to create a BioGrid Unique Subject Identifier (USI) for each individual providing enduring linkages for authorised research.

Benefit to Collaborating Institution

  • Identifiable data is received and managed by BioGrid separately to individuals’ health information. Identifiable data is only used for the purpose of record linkage, consistent with section 3.2.4 of the NHMRC National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research.
  • IBM Security Identity Management System is used to control authorised user provisioning and web access to coded data available through BioGrid.

Benefit to Researchers

  • Authorised researchers only access coded data (i.e. with personal identifiers removed).
  • Enables linkage of data at the individual level (i.e. USI coded data, with personal identifiers removed) across data sets whilst preserving patient privacy.
  • Facilitates ongoing linkages resulting in efficient access across multiple projects. 

Benefit to Data Custodians

  • Patient and clinician privacy is protected as only coded data (i.e. with personal identifiers removed) is made available to authorised researchers.
  • Enables data custodians to match their patient data with other relevant data pertaining to the same patient from other linked data sets in BioGrid.