SICSA DVF: Professor John Bass. National and international data linkage – top down or bottom up?

Date(s) - 23/05/2014
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

National E-Science Centre, Edinburgh

How do we create a national, let alone international, linkage? At the national level, projects rarely have the time and willingness to pay attention to detail, and tend to create “broad brush” data. Small local entities often take pride in making use of local knowledge to create high-quality linkage. Is it possible to have a big picture that still reflects the quality of linkage found in a local cancer registry? It’s easier than you might think!

Biography: After an early career in marine zoology combined with computing, John Bass has been at the leading edge of health-related data linkage in Australia since 1984. Early work on infant mortality in Western Australia resulted in a linked dataset that became the cornerstone of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. He then implemented the Australian National Death Index in Canberra before returning to Perth as the founding manager of the Western Australian linked health data project — the first of its kind in the country. He designed and implemented the technical system of this group, which is widely recognised as the foremost data linkage unit in Australia. John stepped aside from his position in 2000 but has continued a close relationship with the project, designing and overseeing the implementation of genealogical links and then spending several years working with state and federal government to implement the first large-scale linkage of national pharmaceutical and general practice information. This involved the development of new best-practice privacy
protocols that are now widely adopted across Australia. He was a core participant in developing a detailed plan for the implementation of a second state-based data linkage unit involving New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. In 2008 John moved to Tasmania, where he spent four years planning and paving the way for the implementation of a state-wide data linkage unit. He is now semi-retired, but still working on new developments in data linkage technology.

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