Our Services

Information at your fingertips

If you’re looking for an efficient and effective way to access a comprehensive collection of Nova Scotia health care, health services and population health data for your research project, HDNS can help.

These datasets include longitudinal, person-specific, de-identified health data of Nova Scotians, from as far back as 1989.

Our secure data platform allows you to interact with your research project dataset and provides valuable analytical tools in a secure environment. Our expert staff can provide the interpretations and explanations you need to really understand the full implications of the data you’re working with.

How we help

HDNS offers the following services for Researchers:

  • Access to a rich source of linkable, person specific, but de-identified data on Nova Scotians, including health service records, population health data and census geographic areas
  • Co-ordination of the entire data access process, including guidance, support, and advice when applying to access our data holdings and/or link them to other data sets (including Researcher-collected data)
  • A streamlined and transparent access process for applying for data
  • Descriptive and inferential analytic services
  • Remote access to the HDNS Secure Data Platform, a central server for data storage and analysis, including encrypted backups, software, and other services to ensure compliance with data access requirements

How to apply for access

HDNS manages access to data according to applicable legislation, agreements with data custodians, and HDNS policies and procedures.

To learn more, review our Data Access Process.

For more information, download and review our Guide to Using our Services [PDF - 326kB]

To learn more about costs related to data access requests, please see HDNS Fees and Charges

How data is stored and accessed

The secure data platform, Citadel, provides a data storage and analytical processing environment for a variety of uses and is particularly useful for health data.

Citadel, our secure analytics platform provides a Windows front-end to interact with your research project datasets. Data are securely stored in the Cloudera filesystem where each file is replicated three times over five servers. For more information on Cloudera, please see this video.

We provide analytical tools in this secure environment such as SAS, Stata and R Studio. We are always looking to build analytical capacity; for example, we recently implemented Python.

You may access Citadel from your own computer via Dalhousie’s VPN and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection (RDC). Citadel includes redundancy for data stored in Cloudera, licensed analytics software, and other services to ensure compliance with data access requirements.