VHIN Introduction to Health Research in the IDI

A course on Statistics New Zealand's Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) and the requirements and processes for getting started with analysing its data.


For any concerns regarding this course, please email nzssncourses@auckland.ac.nz.


Monday 24 February 2020 


VHIN Introduction to Health Research in the IDI

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

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


Dr Sheree Gibb and Dr Andrea Teng

Course outline

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 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 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 its use, and use examples from projects, such as VHIN catalyst projects, the Better Start and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges, and a selection of other health research. Participants will get the opportunity to ask questions of the course conveners and a panel of established IDI users.

The course will cover the following topics, and will conclude with a question and answer session including an expert panel.

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

Fee structure

We have simplified our fee structure to make it easier to show up front. We no longer have an earlybird period, and the fees for this course are simply:

Student: $NZ225

Other: $NZ450

Course text

The instructors' detailed course notes will serve as the course text. Participants will receive a copy on the first day. See also resources available through the VHIN website and Statistics New Zealand.

Related courses/experience

The course will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and analysts in government agencies or the health sector, academics, policymakers, health professionals, and postgraduate students. It will suit those who are new to using the IDI, are considering using the IDI, or would like to know more about IDI research. The course is presented from a health perspective but will be relevant to other sectors as well.