CLSA and HDRN Canada partner to enable data linkage

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Today, Health Data Research Network Canada (HDRN Canada) and the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) announced a new partnership to enable linkage of the CLSA cohort data with data held at provincial data centres.

This partnership aims to streamline requests to linked data through HDRN Canada’s Data Access Support Hub (DASH) and enable the development of data access processes and methodologies that are consistent across different provinces and territories.

DASH is a one-stop service where researchers can receive guidance on study design and development and request access to multi-jurisdictional data. Through this new partnership, researchers will be able to submit a single intake form to request access to data from multiple provinces that have linked CLSA data holdings.

The CLSA is the most comprehensive platform for research on aging in Canada, collecting longitudinal data from more than 50,000 participants at recruitment, for 20 years. The CLSA enables researchers to answer critical questions on the biological, medical, psychological, social, lifestyle and economic aspects of aging, disability and disease. CLSA participants take part in telephone or in-person interviews, and approximately 30,000 participants complete physical assessments and provide blood and urine samples. More than 90% of participants have consented for their CLSA data to be linked with provincial health databases.

By enabling researchers to connect longitudinal data with use of health services and health outcomes captured by provincial health databases, we can gain deeper insights into the factors that impact the health of individuals as they age.

Through this partnership, HDRN Canada and CLSA will strengthen health research and enable innovative research to better understand the changing health needs of individuals over the course of their lives, and identify solutions to pressing challenges in healthcare and social service provision for an aging population.

“HDRN Canada is committed to expanding the types of data that are available to researchers. Linking deep, longitudinal survey data from the CLSA to routinely-collected health care services use data opens incredible new research opportunities,” said Dr. Kimberlyn McGrail, Scientific Director of HDRN Canada. “We are pleased to be working with our colleagues from CLSA to make these resources available.”

“Linking the CLSA data to administrative health databases across provinces will enable researchers to make important population comparisons that will inform health-care practice and policies over time. Our partnership with HDRN Canada will allow for unprecedented research opportunities and, in the long-term, better health for all Canadians,” said Dr. Parminder Raina, a professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University and lead principal investigator of the CLSA.

Researchers interested in accessing linked CLSA data through DASH are invited to contact dash@hdrn.ca to be updated as data becomes available.