Public good through data linkage: measuring research outputs from the Western Australian Data Linkage System

Aust N Z J Public Health. 2008 Feb;32(1):19-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-6405.2008.00160.x.


Objective: To measure the 'public good' by retrieving, collating, reviewing and assessing outputs from projects using information supplied from the Western Australian Data Linkage System (WADLS) during 1995-2003.

Methods: Using WADLS project application records, all investigators were contacted and requested to submit research outputs for review.

Results: 708 outputs comprising journal articles, reports, presentations, conference proceedings, media, theses and other items were reported. During the review, consequential policy reforms in mental health, crystalline silica exposure guidelines and surgical mortality audit were identified. Consequential clinical practice reforms had occurred in laparoscopic, cholecystectomy and acute coronary care.

Conclusions: Data linkage can make a substantial and quantifiable contribution to population health and policy development.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Research / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Medical Informatics*
  • Medical Record Linkage*
  • Population Surveillance
  • Public Health*
  • Research Design
  • Western Australia