In this written assessment you will be asked to demonstrate that you have met the learning outcomes for the whole
course. The assessment accounts for 50% of your overall course grade and is due for hand in during week 12 of the
course. There will be support throughout Module 7 if you have questions relating to the assessment.
You are a researcher who is planning to undertake a data linkage study. You are interested in understanding more
about Diabetes. You are getting ready to apply for permission to undertake your study.
You have identified data source from your local clinical team as being a relevant starting point for your study:
Diabetes Care Register. For the purpose of this assignment this is a dummy data set and further details are given
You are going to design and plan a data linkage research study to answer a research question of your choice using
the Diabetes Care Register and linking to a minimum of 2other data sources from the list of Data Sources for Linkage
in Box 1.
The essay questions below reflect the information that you need to provide in your permission application. There are
THREE parts to the application and you need to complete all the questions in each of the three parts.
BOX 1: Data Sources for Linkage
Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR):
• SMR00 – outpatients
• SMR01 – General/acute inpatients and day cases
• SMR02 – Maternity inpatients and day cases
• SMR04 – Mental Health inpatients and day cases
• SMR06 – Scottish Cancer Registry
National Records Scotland (NRS) Death Data
Accident and emergency datamart (A&E2)
Prescribing Information System (PIS)
Scottish Renal Registry (SRR)
You may find this link a useful resource giving you information about each data source http://www.ndc.scot.nhs.uk/index.asp
Clinical Practice Research Database (CPRD) – for access to the Scottish GP Practice data that can be linked using
In addition, the population covered by your clinical dataset participated in an enhanced health lifestyle survey
exercise and all were surveyed as part of the following:
Scottish Health Survey in 2012 and 2015
Food and You Survey, 2014
PART 1: Your Research Question (40 marks)
a) Set out your research question clearly.
b) Briefly outline your study design including identifying 5 to 10 confounders and intermediate variables might be
• Your research question might be about understanding risk factors, clinical care or outcomes.
• Remember to use the frameworks and tools you have learnt about to support you (PECO, DAGs). Demonstrating
these will strengthen your application.
• You may not be able to find data source(s) with all of the important variables within them – so highlight any missing variables
PART 2: Data Governance (20 marks)
a) Briefly describe the potential public benefit of your research
b) Describe three approaches in which you can minimise the risk to data confidentiality. Describe briefly:
o each approach
o and outline how it will minimise risk
• Use up to 3 references (as appropriate) to support your case for the public benefit of your research
• ‘approach’ means any method to control or minimise risk. Remember the ‘4 Safes’
PART 3: Data Specification (40 marks)
a) Please specify which data sources you are going to use and how you will link them.
b) As part of good data governance you should only request access to the data that you need for your research. Please specify the variables that you will require for your research and briefly justify why you need for each, highlighting any that may be considered identifiable or potentially identifiable.
• Include a details of the primary and foreign keys and describe how you plan to join your tables with justification of
why you will join that way
• A data linkage and specification template have been provided to help you do this and you are expected to submit
your completed version as part of your assignment. Data Linkage and Specification Template
Your completed assessment should be submitted via the Assessments area: Final Health Informatics Assignment by
the date given in your timetable.
You should submit two documents
1. Your completed data linkage research plan answering parts 1-3
2. Your completed data linkage and specification template described in part 3
Expected duration: We would expect you to spend around 2-3 hours completing this assignment in total