The aim of Hazelinks is to investigate the short, medium and long term health effects of the smoke from the coal mine fire by using routinely collected health data.

There are two components of Hazelinks: identified data linkage and anonymised data extraction. Identified linkage uses participant information from the Adult Survey (name, date of birth, sex etc.) to link to health datasets. Data extraction involves requesting anonymised data extracts (data that does not have names attached) for all ages, for a specific time period, for all the main exposure areas (as well as surrounding regions).  Data linkage and data extraction will be repeated approximately every 2-3 years for the duration of the study. All data will be linked to modelled air quality data from CSIRO using geographic coordinates. The geographical coordinates used to assign air quality data for identified linkage will be based on your home address at the time the health record was created.

Datasets Identified linkage Data extraction
Ambulance Data Yes Yes
Hospital admissions & emergency presentations Yes Yes
Victorian Cancer Registry Yes Yes
National Death Data Yes Yes
Australian Cancer Database* Yes No
Medicare (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data No Yes **

* Linkage to the Australian Cancer Database requires approvals from the data custodians of each state and territory cancer registry.

** Extraction only includes records in the Latrobe Valley from 1 July 2012 onwards.

The identified linkage will search for your personal details such as name, date of birth and sex in the relevant health databases. This means that if your details match a record in any of the searched databases (such as ambulance, hospitals, cancer and death) the record will be returned to the Hazelwood Health Study. For example if you visited a hospital, broad details such as date of hospital visit, primary diagnosis, length of stay will be returned to the Hazelwood Health Study. Please note, confidential medical records, test results or conversations with doctors will not be shared.

The data extraction component of the study will use anonymised data only. This means that health data that is provided to the study will not have your name attached to the record.