Working with HIC's data linkage service

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Scoping project requirements

The following steps below demonstrate the event sequence of interactions between the project team and HIC to discuss and scope project requirements before funding is secured and, when the project is given the go-ahead.

Pre award

Step 1: User defines questions and develops a project plan

  • HIC can help by providing a dataset inventory list
  • provide an aggregate feasibility data

Step 2: Organise a pre-award project scoping meeting

A pre-award project scoping meeting with Chris Hall is required to discuss project feasibility, data and approval requirements.

To enable HIC to understand the project requirements and provide an accurate costing the following information is needed:

  • project title
  • project aims
  • how the cohort will be defined
  • geographic areas to be covered
  • whether there is linkage to external data not held by HIC
  • longitudinal data history required
  • how up-to-date the data will need to be
  • when the data is likely to be needed
  • how the project will be funded

Step 3: Data requirements document

HIC will provide a detailed data requirements document and quotation based on the discussion, for agreement with the Principle Investigator (project leader) prior to submission for funding.

For a service quotation, please allow 4 weeks before any grant application processing deadline to meet, assess requirements, and for HIC to calculate costs and provide a quotation.

The quotation is cost-recovery only and is calculated on the staff time required to carry out the different required activities, with a contribution to background HIC running costs.

The quote may be subject to VAT. 

Step 4: Funding

  • data user applies for funding 

Project start

Step 5: Data requirement user meeting (DRUM)

Once the agreed funding has been awarded/ identified contact Chris Hall to hold a project start DRUM (data requirement user meeting) to confirm project details from the pre-award data Project Scope document and Quotation, agree a delivery schedule & project milestones, including a communication strategy for providing feedback at key delivery points.  HIC will confirm the necessary approvals that will be needed, in dialogue with Duncan Heather and external governance officials, as required. This is an important meeting to help ensure efficient delivery of accurate data for the project.

All relevant project staff to attend, in particular the Principal Investigator (PI) and the Research Assistant (RA) who will be carrying out the analysis, along with key senior and junior HIC staff who will be involved in the data extraction. This helps to reduce misunderstanding over data requirements and delivery dates.

Step 6: Creating a project initiation document (PID)

HIC will confirm details of the data specification from the pre-award project scoping meeting and data requirement document and create a project initiation document (PID). This will be provided to the PI and RA for confirmation that this is the correct data extract for the study. 

The PID defines how the cohort will be made:

  • inclusion and exclusion criteria
  • detailed data to be provided, within scope of the original quotation
  • delivery schedule
  • communication strategy
  • governance approvals required

Delivery dates are dependent on:

  • confirmation of data requirement specification by PI and RA
  • necessary governance approvals being obtained
  • timely receipt of any external data required for linkage to HIC-hosted data

Step 7: Project begins

Once the PID has been agreed and the project has begun all subsequent requests for changes to requirements and project scope will require an impact assessment to be performed.

The outcome of the process is one of the following situations:

  • a schedule slippage
  • additional project costs
  • no-cost alteration to scope
  • no impact
  • schedule slippage and additional project costs

The PI will be asked to review the impact assessment and to decide whether they wish to proceed with the change and agree to any associated impacts to original costs and schedule.

Any delays or errors caused by HIC will be rectified at no cost to the project. HIC will hold open the work ticket for each project data release for 30 days to allow data users to query aspects of the data release and receive prompt attention. After 30 days the release will be considered validated and closed off. Queries may still be raised in relation to the release, but there may be delays in response times due to other work pressures.


Step 8: Obtain governance support

Safe Haven

Step 9: Output to Safe haven

Data archiving

Step 10: The project is archived

Once the project has reached its end date HIC will liaise with the study team to ensure that they are finished with the data. If they are not, the end date will be updated accordingly within the PM System Safe Haven.

When the data user confirms that their project is completed the project dataset will be removed from the Safe Haven and archived for 12 years. The dataset can be made available again on request if necessary, with any applicable new approvals. After 12 years the data will be reviewed by the HIC Governance Committee to authorise either holding it longer, or deleting it.

The archived data project folder will contain:

  • the original data supplied for the study
  • the project folder from within the Safe Haven. This should also contain any data user analysis code to enable the study to be re-run if necessary, e.g. to prove findings
  • the project folder used by the HIC data analyst to hold any requirements, code etc
  • extracted version of any temporary database tables relating to the project.  These will also be removed from production servers

Christopher Hall
+44 (0)1382 383718