Applying for permission to use register data from THL or other agencies under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
If only THL registers are to be used in a study, permission is sought from THL using a standardised application form (tutkimuslupa-lomake, in Finnish only) available on the THL web site. The form requests the following items of information relating to the study: the title of the study; the data controller, i.e., the organisation or research team that will use the register data and thus is responsible for it; the researcher or research teamincharge of the study; the members of the team that will use the requested data; the purpose of the study; the information content of the proposed research data file; the principles of data protection that are in use; and the plan for archiving or destroying the data after the project is completed. Additionally the timeframe of the study needs to be defined. All members of the research team that will use the research data file need to sign a statement that they will not use these data for other purposes or harm the subjects of the study. The THL registers to be used and the variables needed need to be identified.
Similarly if only the health care records of one hospital district or municipalities will be used, permission is applied for from the health care authority itself. The application can be written in free format.
If data from health care records from several hospital districts or municipalities is to be used, permission is applied from THL.
Often a study calls for linking individual-level data from more than one administrative register. If the registers are controlled by authorities under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, then the project needs to be approved by the Ministry instead of the respective register authorities. Before the Ministry grants authorisation for the project the Data Protection Ombudsman is consulted on the matter. Permission is sought using the same standardised application form that is used when applying for data from THL.