HDNS Fees and Charges

HDNS Fees and Charges

Health Data Nova Scotia (HDNS) provides a cost-effective and efficient way for Requestors to access population-based, longitudinal administrative health data. HDNS is funded in part through cost-recovery for services. HDNS provides in-kind support for upfront consultation required to determine feasibility and services associated with projects.

Feasibility and Cost Estimate letter (FCE) is recommended at the earliest opportunity to support your budgeting process. This is an estimate of the amount HDNS will charge based on your rough project parameters. This amount should be included in grant budgets. 

The Cost Quote, the actual amount to be charged, is provided once Data Access is approved and the details of the project are final.

Important details of each of these cost communications is provided below. 


Feasibility and Cost Estimate Letters (FCEs)

HDNS will provide Requestors with a letter that indicates the feasibility of data access and/or linkage for their specified project, and an estimate of costs that may be used for budgeting. Each project should have an FCE letter associated with it, whether a grant is being applied for or not.

  • FCEs are project and grant specific; they should not be re-used for multiple grant applications
  • FCEs do not include costs for data or other services that are not provided by HDNS
  • FCEs are not approval letters
  • FCE estimates are broad to accommodate possible changes in the project through the grant application, ethics and data access processes
  • Projects that have not requested an FCE letter will be issued one upon initial work with HDNS on the Data Access Request (DAR)
  • HDNS has made a commitment that charges will not exceed the amount on the FCE letter, provided the project remains substantially similar

HDNS is usually able to provide an FCE letter within three (3) weeks. You can request this letter online here.


The Cost Quote

Concrete cost quotations are only available after a DAR has been approved. The reason for this delay is because projects may change significantly from time of FCE to time of approval. 

Upon receiving notification from the Data Access Committee that a DAR has been approved, HDNS will provide a Cost Quote, with the Contractual Agreement on Data Access and Management (CADAM).


About HDNS charges

Project charges fall into two general categories: administrative costs for the data access request processing and administration of agreements and charges associated with operations, including data extraction, linkage and analysis. 


Administrative Costs

The administrative charges for a project cover the data access coordination and review processes as well as the administration of agreements with approved Requestors. Administrative charges also include the development of the Project Charter, that identifies the details around the project dataset creation, analysis, packaging, and delivery of data. 

Category            Description Hours Unit Price Line Total
  Initial Consultation   No Charge  
  Data Access Request Processing      n/a 1,600 1,600
  Administration of Agreements n/a 1,000 1,000
  Project Charter Development 8 200 1,600


Operational Costs

The charges for a project are driven by the complexity of the study population, the number and type of data files requested, the number of different datasets involved, and whether any external linkages are required. Costs are not, as a rule, determined by the size of the study population, the number of fields requested or the number of years of data requested.

The charges are based on a cost recovery for the following activities:


Category Description Hours Unit Price Line Total
        Importation of External Data
  Data importation and preparation   200  
  Linkage to HDNS Data Holdings   200  
        Database Analysis
  Creation of project cohort   200  
  Data extraction   200  
  Data quality checking   200  
        Statistical Analysis
  Analysis   100  


Project service charges often fall between $10,000.00 and $20,000.00 per project. Complexity and external linkages can drive the charges higher. HDNS reserves the right to change its cost recovery structure at any time, however will maintain its commitment to Requestors for administrative charges to not exceed the amount on the FCE letter. 


Other Charges

For all projects a contingency of 10% of the operations costs is added to the cost to cover minor project overruns, this amount is only charged if utilized. A further charge of 5% of operations costs (to a max of $2,500) is added to cover cost associated with account set-up and technical support for the HDNS Secure Data Platform.


Project Amendments

Requestors may make a request to change key aspects about their projects, such as:

  • Data updates or more years of data
  • Data files and/or fields requested
  • Project questions posed
  • Change in study population

These require a formal application to the Data Access Committee in the form of an amendment. New service charges may apply for significantly amendment applications, and confirmation of funds will be requested by HDNS.