Case 7: Health Data from Local Authorities

Cases are examples of questions and inquiries we receive in the Guidance Function, which we would like to share for inspiration.

A researcher contacted the Guidance Function to learn more about the rules for obtaining access to health data from the local authorities, including data about home care, nursing care at home and nursing home residents.

This health data falls in the categories of health indicators from local authorities and patient record data. A researcher can apply for permission to use both types of data for specific research projects. Until July 1st 2020, this permission was obtained through the Danish Patient Safety Authority, but today the permission is obtained through an application to the Regional Council in the region the researcher works in. This applies to both new permissions and supplementary permissions – e.g. if the researcher wishes to change the period for a research project or request additional data.

As a rule of thumb, the Regional Councils have a processing time of 35 calendar days. Therefore, we encouraged the researcher to proofread their application before sending it, as any shortcomings will result in an unnecessarily long processing time. In a few situations, the research project does not need permission from the Regional Council to obtain the data:

  • If the patients have previously provided written consent, allowing their patient record data to be handed over to the specific research project
  • If the patient record data is obtained from approved databases, e.g. a clinical quality database. The researcher must then apply through the database administrator
  • If the regional Committees on Health Research Ethics has given permission to the research project. The permission must include handoer of patient record data.

As a researcher, it is important to note that the Regional Councils only issue permissions. The researcher is responsible for arranging the practical details regarding the handover of patient record data with the involved departments.


In this case, we helped the researcher gain an overview of the rules for applying to the Regional Councils. We also passed along information about the specific application process for the region in which the researcher worked.

Please feel free to contact us if you need guidance on your research project. Our services are completely free.

The Guidance Function offer first-level support for Danish and international researchers in need of assistance in navigating the requirements and processes surrounding research projects.

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