The New Jersey Health Data Project addresses the state’s urgent health needs

Newswise – Rutgers Center for Government Health Policy The New Jersey Integrated Population Health Data (iPHD) project launched this week to address some of the state’s most pressing health care issues including the opioid epidemic, maternal and infant health, New Jersey’s response to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies.

Researchers and policy experts from across the state gathered Wednesday in a virtual research consortium to mark the launch of the project. The event demonstrated how iPHD aims to inform NJ public health policy making using administrative data in research to promote a more complete understanding of the factors that affect population health and the efficiency of government programs.

“One of the primary goals of iPHD is to create a community of New Jersey researchers dedicated to addressing questions related to the most pressing health needs of the New Jersey population,” said Joel Kantor, Distinguished Professor, Director of the state’s Center for Health Policy. He is an ex officio member of the iPHD Board of Directors. “The union is an important first step towards engaging this community and helping it grow.”

Researchers involved in the project can request access to New Jersey birth data, death data, hospital billing history data, and COVID-19 surveillance data to study health issues affecting the state.

iPHD’s work is guided by four research priorities, informed by input from a diverse group of policy makers and research stakeholders, and approved by the iPHD Board of Directors. Addressing these research priorities will require collaboration from researchers at institutions across the state, and these priorities represent New Jersey’s most pressing health and healthcare issues.

iPHD will support research that explores ways to reduce the opioid epidemic in New Jersey, improve maternal and infant health, ensure access to physical and behavioral health services, and address the social determinants of health. Priorities also include supporting New Jersey’s response to COVID-19 and other public health emergencies.

In 2016, the state of New Jersey enacted legislation to create the iPHD project. The Research Consortium is the result of six years of implementation planning and collaboration between partners in academia and government agencies, led by the New Jersey Department of Health, to advance this effort.

iPHD creates a process for integrating health data and other publicly supported programs of population health research to study health issues that affect communities as a whole. Linking multiple sources of overall program data can help identify demographic trends and other social determinants of health and well-being.

Kantor said the data can be more impactful and valuable when linked across different health or social service programs than if they are isolated from one another.

Health Department commissioner Judith Persicelli delivered opening remarks at the consortium on Wednesday discussing how data modeling has been critically important to inform policy decisions during the pandemic, particularly with regard to hospital capacity. “The work of the iPHD project to focus on priority issues in population health will help identify insights and perspectives from public health initiatives that will ultimately help improve outcomes,” she said.

The Virtual Research Consortium also featured presentations by Rachel Hammond, Chairman and Data Privacy Officer at the New Jersey Department of Health; Margaret Koehler, executive director of the center, and Cantor.

“We have worked with the center to compile a diverse set of data sources to enable researchers to address research priorities,” Hammond explained. “We are launching major public health data sets, and the board will work with other New Jersey agencies to add additional data sources over time.”

In addition to launching the iPHD project, the consortium has also marked the beginning of the first round of data applications. Researchers interested in accessing this data must submit a letter of intent to the state’s Rutgers Center for Health Policy no later than June 15, 2022. Pilot funding is also available for up to four researcher-led projects from New Jersey institutions. Please review iPHD website For more information on how to apply.

About the Rutgers Institute for Health Policy, Health Care and Research on Aging

Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research Advance health and well-being through purposeful, rigorous, and impactful research in the critical areas of behavioral health, health services, health inequalities, health policy, health economics, pharmacoepidemiology, and aging research.

Since its founding in 1985, the Institute has become nationally known for its multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The institute’s 57,000 square feet facilities are home to six elected members of the National Academy of Medicine and 200 members representing more than 30 schools, institutes, and units with associate members from 29 national and international universities.