VHIN Introduction to Health Research in the IDI

This course provides an orientation to the IDI and covers the opportunities and issues around its use for health research.


Monday 25 February 2019


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 Better Start and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges. Please see http://www.vhin.co.nz/guides/idi-courses for more information and courses available elsewhere.


Drs Sheree Gibb & Andrea Teng


None; and no previous computing experience is necessary.

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 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 uses examples 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 conveners and a panel of established IDI users.

The VHIN course will cover these topics: 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.

Course text

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

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, policy makers, health professionals and postgraduate students. It will suit those who are new to using the IDI,
who are considering using the IDI or who 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.