What can GRHANITE™ do for me?

GRHANITE™ provides tools that solve a variety of data acquisition problems. Typical scenarios are below:

  1. GRHANITE™ providing person-level or aggregated data
  2. General practice data
  3. Aboriginal Community-Controlled Medical Services
  4. Laboratory data
  5. Community data including pharmacy and optician data
  6. Hospital data
  7. Cross-jurisdictional data access and data held and protected by government organisations
  8. Projects requiring patient re-identification

GRHANITE™ providing person-level or aggregated data

Back to top

General practice data

The HIU have experience working with many GP computer systems and are happy to consider working with new ones not in our portfolio. We have liaised and often contracted with GP system suppliers to obtain dummy or demonstration copies of their databases. We use these demonstration databases to develop our GRHANITE™ interfaces and we are transparent in our intent.

What data can GRHANITE™ extract?
Back to top

Aboriginal Community-Controlled Medical Services

The privacy and confidentiality provided by GRHANITE™ offer a capability to researchers to work in this area. We are currently working with experienced research groups with aboriginal representation and oversight to undertake crucial work involving Aboriginal Medical Services.

GRHANITE™ interfaces have been developed for Communicare, Best Practice and Medical Director v3 computer systems installed at AMS clinics across Australia.

Back to top

Laboratory data

GRHANITE™ provides unique power in the collection and interpretation of pathology lab results.

We have experience interfacing to data extracts provided by about 60% of pathology laboratories nationally. We can work with you to determine how best to work with the laboratories to collect the information you require.

Laboratories do not maintain patient case records - each test request is treated independently. If a patient has five tests done over the course of two years, the laboratory is not normally able to determine that the tests done were for the same individual. GRHANITE™ Privacy-Protecting Record-Linkage allows the data to be linked without exposing identity.

By obtaining data from multiple labs, we are able to build a complete picture of testing regardless of which pathology lab provider the patient uses.

Using the same privacy-protecting linkage capability, GRHANITE™ can link other data to laboratory data for example linking lab data to GP care episodes or hospital admissions.

Back to top

Community data including pharmacy and optician data

GRHANITE™ interfaces can be written for pretty-much any database so long as we are able to use a demonstration copy of the database that does not contain real patient data. In some cases we (or our clients) have contracted a system supplier to write code that produces a data extract where we have been unable to obtain a demonstration copy of the database.

Back to top

Hospital data

GRHANITE™ will not normally interface directly to hospital systems for security reasons. We work with hospital IT departments so that they can provide a data extract containing the required data. GRHANITE™ is then installed in the IT department to de-identify the data and provide it to the researcher in a privacy-protected, record-linkable form.

Back to top

Cross-jurisdictional data access and data held and protected by government organisations

Data held by government organisations is very tightly controlled. Unless allowed by legislation, it is normally impossible for a government department to release data that contains person identifiers. In many cases they would be breaching several laws if they were to do so.

GRHANITE™ privacy-protecting record linkage can provide a mechanism to legally and ethically access such data by ensuring that identifiers never leave the government organisation and even when record linkage allows, the researcher (and the HIU) at no time are able to identify the individual. This relies on GRHANITE™ being used in all parts of the data collection process to ensure GP or community data is similarly de-identified before it leaves the practice or clinic.

Record linkage work using GRHANITE™ has been undertaken or negotiated previously to arrange for access to data from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare (AIHW), Medicare and the Victorian Department of Health.

Back to top

Projects requiring patient re-identification

GRHANITE™ can export patient identifiers but this in not normally done unless opt-in consent for each individual can be guaranteed.

GRHANITE™ has another process for ethically dealing with patient re-identification:

This procedure allows GRHANITE™ to offer researchers the best possible means of protecting individuals as supported by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (NSECHR) section 3.2.6

'Whenever research using re-identifiable data reveals information that bears on the wellbeing of participants, researchers have an obligation to consider how to make that information available to the participants. Where individual notification is warranted, the custodian of the data will need to take all reasonable steps to re-identify those data'.

GRHANITE™ data is commonly referred to as being de-identified. This term is not recommended by the NSECHR unless clearly defined:

'De-identified in the context of GRHANITE™ extracted data refers to records in which identifying information has been removed but the means still exist to-re-identify an individual by the original data custodian only. Because a data custodian can re-identify GRHANITE™-protected patients, GRHANITE™ data is re-identifiable.'

Researchers should make their own judgement on their use of the appropriate terminology.

Back to top