1 August 2014
AIX, Advanced Interactive eXecutive, ALF, Anonymous Linking Field, CIPHER, Centre for the Improvement of Population Health through E-records Research, DB2, a family of database server products developed by International Business Machines (IBM) , DP, Data Provider, HTTPS, HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, IGRP, Information Governance Review Panel, LSOA, Lower Super Output Area, NHS, National Health Service, NWIS, NHS Wales Informatics Service, RALF, Residential Anonymous Linking Field, SAIL, Secure Anonymised Information Linkage, SQL, Structured Query Language, UKSeRP, UK Secure Research Platform, VPN, Virtual Private Network, Data linkage, Remote access system, Privacy-protection, e-Records research
With the current expansion of data linkage research, the challenge is to find the balance between preserving the privacy of person-level data whilst making these data accessible for use to their full potential. We describe a privacy-protecting safe haven and secure remote access system, referred to as the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Gateway. The Gateway provides data users with a familiar Windows interface and their usual toolsets to access approved anonymously-linked datasets for research and evaluation. We outline the principles and operating model of the Gateway, the features provided to users within the secure environment, and how we are approaching the challenges of making data safely accessible to increasing numbers of research users. The Gateway represents a powerful analytical environment and has been designed to be scalable and adaptable to meet the needs of the rapidly growing data linkage community.