Linkage of Health Interview Survey Data with Health Insurance Data [HISLink]

Last updated on 16-3-2018 by Daisy Tysmans
January 1, 2017
December 31, 2017

Service(s) working on this project

Sciensano's project investigator(s):

In short

The Health Interview Survey (HIS) and the Mandatory Health Insurance (MHI) are complementary data sources within the Belgian health information system. Self-reported information is collected during the HIS on the health status, life style, health care use and socio-demographic background characteristics of a representative sample of the population in Belgium. The MHI is an administrative database with detailed information on reimbursed health care expenses of the total population. Through an individual linkage of HIS and MHI data, it is possible to address health policy relevant questions that each of the data sources separately cannot answer.

Project summary

In Belgium more than 99% of the population participates in the mandatory health insurance (MHI). As a result detailed and extensive information is available on reimbursed health expenses for nearly the whole population. This information is extensively used by health decision makers, especially the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (NIDHI), to plan and monitor policy measures.

However, health insurance data have some shortcomings:

  1. they provide essentially information on the use of health care and health care expenditures, but information on non-reimbursed health care use is lacking
  2. there is no link between health care use and health needs
  3. information on socio-demographic background characteristics is scarce.

This project tries to overcome these shortcomings by linking MHI data with information from the Belgian health interview survey (HIS). Data extracted from the HIS are covering the following topics: socio-demographic characteristics, health status, lifestyle and health care use (all those information are not covered by the MHI). A first linkage was performed with the HIS2008 participants. The present linkage procedure will start with data from the HIS2013 participants and could possibly be extended to the next survey (HIS2018).

The project is specifically meant to respond to policy relevant questions raised by NIDHI (who is the commissioner of this project). Domains covered are, among others, socio-demographic differences in use of health care, evaluation of chronic morbidity indicators used by NIDHI and use of non-reimbursed medicines.

Partners in this project include the Intermutalist Agency and Statistics Belgium. During the first year the focus will lie on the planning and the implementation of the data linkage of the HIS 2013. A linkage scheme will be developed. Variables that will have to be included from both databases will be identified and an authorization request to the privacy commission will be prepared. The implementation of the linkage will be done in the second half of the year. The deliverables of the first year include a report on the linkage of the HIS2013 data and a planning of the domains and activities that will be explored during the upcoming year.

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