Longitudinal health studies: secondary uses serving the future

Our research compares the ethical and institutional conditions that govern the sharing and secondary use of longitudinal population health data from multiple cohorts. The data use and data sharing conditions applicable to 27 population health cohorts were assessed. This assessment was performed in consulting the informed consent materials and institutional policies applicable to the use of data. Descriptions drawn from the research ethics consent materials were refined through dialog with the institutional staff responsible for overseeing access to data, where possible. Our results demonstrate that data of longitudinal population health cohorts assessed can generally be shared and used for secondary purposes. However, the purposes of secondary use and the preconditions applicable thereto are highly variable. Heterogeneous use conditions can also impede the storage of legacy research data and the pooling thereof for the purpose of common reuse. For more reading: