To support data-driven research into COVID-19 and thereby inform evidence-based decision-making during this period of national emergency, the CSO accepts multiple data flows from the HSE relating to COVID-19. The incoming data are processed, pseudonymised and stored securely within the COVID-19 Data Research Hub, which is updated daily and governed by the CSO Data Management Policy to ensure maximum data privacy with robust data protection measures.
The COVID-19 Data Research Hub provides a mechanism to facilitate the compilation of relevant COVID-19 data in a format that is controlled, accessible and usable for approved researchers. It provides access to individual level administrative COVID-19 datasets for registered researchers to support statistical analyses via the CSO Researcher Microdata Files (RMF) process. RMFs will not leave the COVID-19 Data Research Hub.
The provision for researcher access to the CSO COVID-19 data hub follows extensive consultation between the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the Health Research Board (HRB) and the Department of Health (DoH). No directly identifiable data relating to individuals will be made available to researchers, and no identifiable data will be made available to any stakeholders or other persons by the project team.
Main data flows to the CSO COVID-19 Data Hub:
- HSE coronavirus assessments, test referrals and facilities data
- COVID cases in hospitals for the previous 24 Hours
- C19 Covid Care Tracker Application Data Source Tier
- HSE Computerised Infectious Disease Reporting System
- Hospital Inpatient Discharge Data
- National Office of Clinical Audit Intensive Care Unit Data
- Situation, Background, Assessment, Recommendation, Shift Handover Data
Note – if you are interested in COVID-19 data that is currently not listed here, please email details to COVIDDataHub@hrb.ie. While we cannot guarantee we can accommodate your request, we can certainly investigate the possibility.
Once in receipt of the HSE data, the CSO converts the identifier numbers in each dataset to a Protected Identifier Key (PIK). The PIK is a unique and non-identifiable number which is internal to the CSO. Using the PIK enables the CSO to link and analyse data for statistical purposes, while protecting the security and confidentiality of the individual data.
Internally, in CSO, the data is stored in the source tier of the CSO Administrative Data Centre (ADC). From there, the data is made available to researchers by the Researcher Coordination Unit (RCU) via the Researcher Data Portal (RDP). Only designated Officers of Statistics can access the RMFs.
The Research Data Governance Board (RDGB) has been established to make recommendations on applications for accessing this data within the COVID-19 Data Research Hub for research purposes.
The CSO has nominated a dedicated researcher liaison who can provide provisional advice to researchers on the available COVID-19 datasets and on the CSO safeguards and protocols in advance of submitting an RDGB application. Please contact: Sanela Jojkic, CSO Statistician. Email: email@example.com