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November/December 2015 St@teside

Two Sets Are Better Than One: The Case for Data Linkage

A recent AcademyHealth blog post explores the valuable insights that can be gained by linking various data sets. In an attempt to better understand patterns and outcomes within the health care system, one of the most powerful tools researchers and policy-makers have is the ability to link data. Take, for example, the case of Vital Statistics and Medicaid data. By itself, it is difficult for Medicaid to deliver information on key indicators of child and maternal health. Similarly, Vital Statistics (birth certificate) data do not always reflect the most accurate information on payer status. Examining the relationship between the two data sets can be instrumental in identifying interventions to improve the overall health outcomes of mothers and their infants and putting them into practice. 

Furthermore, data linkage can advance our understanding of population health needs, improve the quality of birth certificate reporting, and allow for enhanced measurement of various maternal and child health indicators. To learn more, view the blog post here.