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Building capacity in health economics: health datasets for economic analysis

Dates: 2008-2010. Completed
Funding: Department of Health, Research and Development Programme
Collaborators: Department of Public Health, University of Oxford
Information: Alastair Gray, Jane Wolstenholme and Giselle Abangma

The aim of the Interactive Compendium of Health Datasets for Economists (ICoHDE) is to support high quality research, teaching and learning in the economics of health care by obtaining, managing and providing access (where available) to health and health care related data and resources.  ICoHDE is a web-based and freely accessible database that provides access to over 270 English datasets. Link to ICoHDE

The database contains 3 main types of datasets
•    Those that are freely available via the web – links to the data are provided.
•    Those that are available but require certain access conditions (including licence fees, ethics permission etc) – access conditions are documented and contacts provided.
•    Those that have not previously been routinely available but could be accessed – access conditions are documented and contacts, where available, are provided.

The ICoHDE datasets consists of a mixture of data sources from government departments, individual academics with research grants in research institutions, public organisations, companies and market research agencies.  Examples include large-scale publicly-funded surveys such as the General Household Survey and Labour Force Survey, independent longitudinal surveys such as the Millennium Cohort Study  and the British Household Panel Survey, and large cross-sectional surveys such as the OPCS Surveys of Psychiatric Morbidity survey.  The compendium also holds both qualitative and quantitative datasets.  They range over a large number of health and health care policy relevant areas, including:
•    Primary care activity and expenditure
•    Hospital activity and expenditure
•    Social care
•    Performance measurement
•    Health care labour force
•    Health care commission
•    Pharmaceutical prescribing
•    Expenditure on equipment and technology
•    Incomes and earnings
•    Complaints and litigation
•    Health related prices and inflation
•    Determinants of health

Using the online data catalogue you can browse the collection of datasets. For each dataset in the compendium, a detailed record and links to contextual information are provided.  Each dataset has information on the data type/methods employed, geographical coverage, sample information, consistency over time, availability, conditions of access as well as direct links to the majority of the datasets and references to publications based on secondary use of the data.  The database also lists, where relevant, any identifier variables such as post code, electoral ward, SHA or PCT, that could in principle be used to link that dataset to others.  All datasets have been thematically organized and can be searched using a number of fields including economic categorization, disease area or area of health system.  

The compendium may be searched in a variety of ways:
•    Browse the list of datasets.
•    Free text search which allows for a more general search on all fields in the dataset.  Multiple search terms can be combined to provide a more precise search. 
•    Advanced search provides a more focused and precise search.  Searches can be restricted to specific fields such as health system area, disease area, economic/subject category etc.