Data Linkage

Five different models for data mash-up have emerged under MEDMI and are demonstrated on the MEDMI Platform:

  1. Public web application browser – this sits interactively on the MEDMI website (ie “analysing linked data through a web-based browser), but without access to any confidential or proprietary data. This is open access.  A second tool has been developed to visualise and analyse data from “Climate, weather and infectious diseases”.
  2. Secure web application browser – a second secure URL has been established which links to the web-browser application.   This is only accessible to MEDMI researchers (and other approved researchers primarily from the Partner Institutions). Access, after establishment of credentials with the PI, is controlled through a secure log-in via the main MEDMI website.  This enables MEDMI to control who has access to the MEDMI data, in response to the issues of licensing and confidentiality of data.
  3. Web interface to extract data from the MEDMI server – this will be located on the Public Health England’s Environmental Public Health Surveillance System website (with a link from the MEDMI website). Users will be able to select datasets through a series of dropdown menus and then submit a request for data. The development of the interface is complete and is now undergoing comprehensive testing and will go live in February 2017.
  4. Database module and raw data stored on the MEDMI server – it is possible to extract data and link the MEDMI data with other data by logging into the MEDMI server and using the database module. This method of access suits those with programming skills who want access to raw, unfiltered data or wish to use the temporal and special processing tools that form part of the database module. These processes are useful for linking datasets with each other and for producing time series. There are also some visualisation tools attached to the database module.
  5. Off-Line Data linkage undertaking by researchers, but data not held on the MEDMI platform. Some MEDMI researchers have been used data for MEDMI research projects, but for licensing or confidentiality reasons the data are not available to go on MEDMI website or server (i.e. TPP data; some SGSS data being used by PHE researchers).
  6. Facilitate linkages of other health and environmental datasets – For example, the work of MEDMI has led to the possibility of Met Office data being incorporated into UK Biobank. It is too complex to extract data from Biobank to undertake linkages on MEDMI; UK Biobank takes in other datasets and performs the linkages, then returns linked data to researchers, and vice versa (i.e. the research project “Osteoporosis and solar irradiance”).