Getting Our Story Right: a cross agency data linkageA complex technique for connecting data records within and between datasets using demographic data (e.g. name, date of birth, address, sex, medical record number). Also called ‘Record Linkage’ or ‘Linkage’. and analysis project to better understand and improve information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples using administrative dataCan refer to: (1) the demographic data used in the Data Linkage process; or (2) information pertaining to services provided to people or their clinical information (available only from Data Custodians, including via CARES). collections

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the Department of Health WA (DoHWADepartment of Health Western Australia), together with the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research undertook a collaborative project which aimed to explore and develop different methods for deriving Indigenous status from multiple data sources. By using the resources of the WA Data Linkage System, the project examined the impact of these methods on a sample of health and educational outcomes among the Indigenous population.

The study compared various methods of calculating Indigenous status across multiple data sources and made recommendations about the best use of existing information resources as it pertains to measuring the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. Linked data was drawn from collections held by the DoHWA, WA Department of Education, the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and the Telethon Institute of Child Health Research. Representatives from these organisations were consulted and gave their support. The study also received endorsement from the DoHWA Human Research Ethics Committee and the Western Australian Aboriginal Health Ethics Committee.

Reference: Christensen D, Davis G, Draper G, Mitrou F, McKeown S, Lawrence D, McAullay D, Pearson G, Rikkers W, Zubrick S R. Evidence for the use of an algorithm in resolving inconsistent and missing Indigenous status in administrative data collections. Australian Journal of Social Issues. Vol.49. No 4. 2014 pp 423-443.

Availablity of an Indigenous Status Flag for WA Data

Based on the work of the GOSR project, the WA Data Linkage BranchThe specialist team at the Department of Health who are responsible for developing and maintaining the WA Data Linkage System, performing data linkage, and the facilitation of access to linked data. has created an Indigenous Status Flag. A validated algorithm was used to create this flag for each individual with one or multiple data records held in one or multiple WA government administrative data sets. Data recipients must note that their project could receive data for an individual where data sets provided report an Indigenous Status of NO but the Indigenous Status Flag is YES. The Indigenous Status Flag indicates what status is indicative of a person from all available collections/records and therefore may be different to what is reported in a specific record or collection.

To request the Indigenous Status Flag for a project, please tick the Request box in Section 9.1 Project Data of the Application for Data Form.