Research request process

Research request process at Alberta Health follows 5 primary steps from request receipt to data disclosure.

1.  Receive and investigate

  • Request Application Form and attachments are received at
  • Acknowledgment is sent to requester including the assigned request number.
  • Application is reviewed for completeness.
  • Preliminary data specification is drafted.

The receive/investigate timeline is dependent on the required documentation being provided.

2. Plan

  • Data specifications and methodology are refined.
  • Preliminary analysis is completed, if required.
  • Data specifications are approved.
  • Cost estimate is approved.
  • Cohort and data from other custodians are received, if applicable (see Cohort Template for the format for submitting data to Alberta Health).
  • Work is scheduled and timeframe estimate is provided once a request is qualified.
  • For a request to be considered qualified, Alberta Health will have received the required documentation, an acceptance of the data specifications, the cohort (if applicable), and the data available.

The plan timeline is dependent on requester availability to address questions, the number of iterations required to finalize the data specifications, and cohort and external data being provided.

3. Execute

  • Analyst develops custom code to extract and organize data.
  • Quality assurance review is completed.
  • Data are prepared for disclosure (i.e., anonymized).

The execute timeline is dependent on data availability, workload, amount of time spent on cohort validation, and the complexity of the project.

4. Package

  • Legal agreement is prepared and executed.
  • Data are disclosed to requester using Secure File Transfer Protocol.
  • See Data Disclosure Guidelines for more information on data disclosure.

The package timeline is dependent on whether a standard agreement template can be used, and how quickly signatures can be obtained.

5. Closure

  • Invoice is paid.
  • Staff are available to respond to questions.
  • Request remains accessible for future update requests.

Cost estimate

Alberta Health completes requests on a partial cost-recovery basis; the rates for data extractions are as follows:

$1,600 /day (8 hours) Research requests
$200 flat fee Re-use agreement administration charge

  • A cost estimate will be provided after the data specifications are accepted. If required, a high-level cost range can be provided earlier based on the years of data, datasets requested, and size of cohort.
  • Costs are for analytical time only and exclude meetings, communications and run-time.
  • Changes to the data specifications after acceptance may result in additional time and/or cost.

Timeframe for extract

A number of process improvements have been implemented to address timeline concerns. Timelines are dependent on the complexity of the request and resource capacity.

Several of the data sources are created on an annual basis only and are not available until several months after the end of the fiscal (March 31) or calendar year. Branch staff can assist with an understanding of what data are available and when.