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VHIN Introduction to health research in the IDI

VHIN He kuhunga ki te rangahau hauora i roto i te IDI

Wednesday 14 February 2018

A Virtual Health Information Network (VHIN) course sponsored by the Better Start and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges

Are you considering using the IDI but aren’t sure where to begin? Are you interested in learning more about how the IDI can be used for health research?

This course will provide an orientation to the IDI and discuss some of the opportunities and major issues around its use for health research. The course is taught by two experienced IDI users and there will be ample time for discussion, questions, and networking with other course participants.

The value of routine data and its potential usefulness to research has never been greater. The Stats New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) leads the way internationally in this area. The IDI comprises anonymised microdata about people and households from a range of government agencies, surveys, the 2013 Census, and non-government organisations. The number of health research projects in the IDI is rapidly expanding. The IDI can be a fantastic resource for health research, but successful IDI research requires a background of knowledge and contacts that is often not available to new users. This course aims to provide a base for IDI users to build this knowledge and contacts.

This course will introduce the IDI, provide practical tips about using the IDI, and share learnings from IDI projects, such as the Virtual Health Information Network (VHIN) catalyst projects, Healthier Lives and Better Start National Science Challenges, and a selection of other health research. Participants will get the opportunity to ask questions of the course convenors and a panel of established IDI users.

Dr Sheree Gibb and Dr Andrea Teng are co-convening the course.

Topics covered  

  • Overview of the IDI
  • Research questions and methods for big data
  • Data sharing and useful resources
  • How to get started in the IDI
  • Social license, ethics, and kaitiakitanga
  • The IDI structure, the spine, estimating a population and linkage rates
  • Key information on ethnicity, address, income and health
  • Brief introduction to SQL/SAS/other coding and where to find resources
  • Examples of IDI research
  • Panel question and answer session

Style of course

This course will comprise of multiple short presentations, practical examples and opportunities for discussion.

Who should attend?  

The course will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and analysts in government agencies or the health sector, academics, policy makers, health professionals and Masters and Doctoral Students. It will suit new IDI users, those who are already using the IDI but would like to increase their knowledge and meet other users, those who are considering using the IDI, and managers, supervisors and others who would like to understand more about IDI research. The course is presented from a health perspective but will be relevant to other sectors as well.

Draft timetable

Time Session Presenter(s)
8:30am Registration
9am 1. Introduction
• What is the IDI?
• What sort of questions can the IDI answer?
• What is the role of researchers in the IDI community?
• Resources available for IDI users
Sheree Gibb/ Andrea Teng
10:30am Morning tea
11am 2. IDI in context
• Statistics NZ- confidentiality and security, applications, output checking
• Social license, ethics and governance
Statistics New Zealand
12:30pm Lunch break
1:30pm 3. Research practicalities
• IDI structure and spine
• Estimating a population and linkage rates
• Programming in IDI: SQL
• Where to find key information (ethnicity, location, income, health)
Andrea Teng/ Sheree Gibb
3pm Afternoon tea
3:30pm 4. Examples of IDI health research
Q&A with expert panel of IDI users
Range of academic and public sector speakers
5pm Finish

Teaching staff  

  • Dr Sheree Gibb has a background in longitudinal social and health research. She has extensive experience with the IDI and has worked at universities and Statistics New Zealand.
  • Dr Andrea Teng is a Senior Research Fellow and Public Health Physician. She leads the Capitalising on Health Data project in the National Science Challenge Healthier Lives, using the IDI for non-communicable disease research. Andrea also leads the core infrastructure for the Virtual Health Information Network, contributing to a network of IDI users with the aim of improving research quality in the IDI.

Course cost and registration

$300 early bird, $400 after 20 December 2017.

A 50% discount is available to full-time students, those unwaged and University of Otago staff.

Register now