DIGIHLTH 703 : New Zealand Health Data Landscape

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester Two (1245) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An overview of key issues to support the appropriate and effective use of large volumes of routinely collected data to drive improvements in the delivery of health care. Ethical and equitable use of health data, critical evaluation of health data, identification of analytic methods and appropriate interpretation to support health care decision-making are discussed. Specific datasets are not analysed.

Course Overview

Clinicians, health service managers and analysts, along with researchers, are able to access an increasing array of routinely collected repositories of “big data” from health and other sectors that can be linked using New Zealand’s unique national identifier – the National Health Index number. This health data landscape provides tremendous opportunities for improving the delivery of population and personalised health care and providing efficient mechanisms for undertaking research on a large scale. Along with this potential though are significant pitfalls that need to be considered in order to optimise the use of such data and avoid its misuse.
The purpose of this course is to help you to optimize decision-making based on routinely collected New Zealand health data, and to enhance the potential for these data to support equitable population health outcomes. This will be achieved by developing your ability to critically evaluate the strengths and potential benefits of analyses and outputs using routinely collected health data, as well as their limitations and potential harms.

Course Requirements

Restriction: HLTHINFO 725

Course Contacts

Dr. Vanessa Selak | Course Director
Vanessa is a public health physician and academic with the Section of Epidemiology & Biostatistics. Vanessa has 20 years' experience working within the health sector, predominately at Waitemata District Health Board, in roles spanning clinical medicine, planning & funding, and quality improvement. Vanessa's research is focused on using routinely collected electronic health data to support improvements in the quality of healthcare delivery and equity of health outcomes, with a focus on cardiovascular disease.
Associate Professor Katrina Poppe | Co teaching staff
Katrina is the Director of the VIEW Data Ecosystem and analytical practice at the Section of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and the Heart Foundation Hynds Senior Fellow. The theme of her research is around improving the accuracy of cardiovascular risk assessment and management at the level of the individual. Standard risk assessment is well established (at least in some countries), but larger steps need to be made towards more personalised risk estimation. Katrina has a background in clinical cardiac physiology and in medical statistics, and her research bridges cardiovascular medicine, advanced clinical technology, data science, applied statistics and epidemiology, with applications ranging from public health to advanced cardiology. There is enormous potential for further development of this combined approach to cardiovascular research.

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Critically evaluate strengths and limitations in the quality of routinely collected New Zealand health data to optimise the integrity of decision-making based on these data (Capability 1, 3, 4 and 6)
  2. Identify, describe and analyse potential benefits and harms from routinely collected data outputs in relation to population health and inequities (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 100% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend at least 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

Delivery Mode


The course may include live online events including group discussions and these will be recorded.
Where possible, study material will be available at course commencement.
This course runs to the University semester/quarter timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

The course is divided into online modules, each with a series of supporting resources, including lectures, readings from national international literature and websites. All materials are accessed via the Web. Course readings are available via the University Library's web site.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

All assignments are now based on the same article using routinely collected New Zealand health data, rather than having a different article for each assignment, in order to make it easier for students to become familiar with the material and demonstrate their learning in assignments.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.