University-Sponsored Researcher and State Agency Requests (IPA)


The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) provides confidential patient-level data sets to eligible researchers.  Some of these researchers are eligible through the Information Practices Act (or “IPA,” CA Civil Code Section 1798 et seq.), which permits nonprofit educational institutions (such as the University of California) and state agencies to request data for research purposes and for performing legally mandated activities. The contents of these IPA files are described in the Master Variable Grid and the Nonpublic Data Documentation. Additionally, detailed submission guidelines for the patient data are available for the current year in the MIRCal online reporting system manuals.

Requesting Data

  • 1. Confirm your eligibility for confidential data.
    Before you start the application process, please confirm your eligibility. Nonprofit university-sponsored researchers are eligible to request IPA files. All IPA confidential data requests must have:
    • Request for Nonpublic Patient Level data approved by OSHPD
    • Research protocol approved by the Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (CPHS). The CPHS protocol must be renewed annually and kept current while the researcher has the data. CPHS is the state Internal Review Board for the California Health and Human Services Agency. CPHS approves requests at committee meetings, held six times per year.
    State agencies are also eligible to obtain IPA files, based on the need to perform their constitutional or statutory duties; the use of the data must be compatible with the purpose for which the data was collected. The requesting agency must attest that their use of OSHPD data is to support a mandated activity and a reference to the legal citation must be included as part of the application.
  • 2. Does the data set meet your analytical needs?
  • 3. Review the IPA Data Request Checklist to begin the interactive request process.


Data Set Cost
Turn-Around Time/Shipping
  • 2. How long does it take to receive data after I submit a request?
    It depends on the complexity and completeness of the request. On average, the time between an IPA request being received and when data is shipped, is about six months. It may be longer or shorter depending on the Request. IPA Requests take longer than AB 2876 Requests because they require approval from the California Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects. Additionally, any request for OSHPD Patient data linked to Birth or Death Certificate data requires an additional review by the California Department of Public Health Vital Statistics Advisory Committee.
  • 3. Can OSHPD send data files via Secure File Transfer Protocol?
    Yes, or via overnight shipping.
  • 4. Why does it take longer to get PDD/Linked Birth or Death data?
    The California Department of Public Health is required to review all requests that contain Birth and Death Certificate data, which includes our OSHPD Patient data linked to Birth or Death Certificate data. We are not allowed to release PDD/Linked Birth data until it is approved by the CDPH Vital Statistics Advisory Committee. This review is in addition to the approval by OSHPD and CPHS.
Confidential Data Set Eligibility
Using Confidential Data
  • 7. I want to link OSHPD data to data from another source. Is this possible?
    It depends on what is being linked and how the data are being used. This is one of the factors we look at when reviewing your request. OSHPD data cannot be used to re-identify actual patients. When a linkage of this nature is needed for a specific research project, details of how the linkage can occur without the identifiers being released to the researcher need to be discussed. For example, you could track "Patient A" but not actually know who this person is.
  • 8. What am I allowed to do with the data?
    You may use the data for the project that you have been approved by OSHPD and CPHS to use it for, analyze it, prepare reports and articles and publish your findings. What you are NOT allowed to do is:
    • Use the data for a different project
    • Share the data with anyone who is not listed on your Data Use Agreement
    • Publish patient-level data or information that is considered a small cell (less than 15 subjects)
    • Change your scope-of-work without proper approvals
    • Keep patient-level data in your system after the project has ended
  • 9. If an article is published from the project I did, am I required to give OSHPD a copy?
    You are not required to submit a copy of published materials or papers to us, but we like to know how our data is being used.
  • 10. Do you publish my information on your website?
    We currently list all approved IPA requests here, after the data has been released.

This page was last updated on Friday, September 30, 2016.

Data Years Available
PUF 2010-2014 2010-2014
AB 2876 1983-2016 2005-2016
IPA 1983-2016 2005-2016
Custom 1983-2016 2005-2016

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