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The New Jersey Integrated Population Health Data (iPHD) Project


On January 11, 2016, Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Integrated Population Health Data (iPHD) Project into law. The iPHD Project is designed to enable and promote population health research that leads to improvements in the health, safety, security, and wellbeing of New Jersey residents as well as improvements in the cost-efficiency of state government programs in these areas. The overarching concept of the iPHD is that programmatic data are much more informative when they are linked across different service areas (e.g., health, social services) than when they remain in isolation from one another. The iPHD Project is modeled on other successful data integration projects around the country, as described in a white paper by the Good Care Collaborative.

Under the direction of a ten-member Governing Board, the iPHD will be operated by Rutgers Center for State Health Policy (CSHP). The Governing Board will be chaired by the New Jersey Commissioner of Health and will include five ex officio members, the Commissioner of Human Services, State Treasurer, Attorney General, Rutgers Chief Information Officer, and the CSHP Director (non-voting). In addition, two public members appointed by the Governor and one each by the Senate President and the Speaker of the Assembly will serve fixed terms on the Board. Public members will be experts in four specific areas: (1) legal requirements for data privacy and security, (2) “big data” analysis and security, (3) advocacy on behalf of persons whose data may be included in the iPHD, and (4) a New Jersey university-based researcher with expertise in human subject research.

The Governing Board will adopt and publish policies and procedures; oversee and authorize the receipt, maintenance, transmission and disposal of data by the iPHD Project; and review and approve applications for use of the data. The iPHD Project’s operation will be transparent, with full disclosure of datasets received and maintained, research projects approved, and publications based on results of all approved projects. In addition to Board approval, state agencies contributing data to the iPHD must approve each project application to use their data. Data may be shared only after the execution of all applicable data use and related legal agreements. The iPHD does not preclude New Jersey agencies from meeting their data analysis needs by other means, including by entering into agreements directly with external researchers, nor is CSHP limited to conducting its research through the iPHD.

Policies and Procedures

The iPHD Act envisions integration of administrative data from a variety of state programs including, for example, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Low Income Energy Assistance, and homeless services within a secure data processing environment at CSHP. To advance broad engagement in actionable population health research using iPHD data and promote New Jersey’s research institutions as leaders in the field, CSHP will convene a consortium of interested researchers from the state’s universities and medical schools. The Act requires that the iPHD be operational within one year of enactment (i.e., in January 2017). Beginning at that time, researchers may apply to the iPHD for access to integrated data for specific research projects that are consistent with the goals of the Act. Researchers whose applications are approved by the Governing Board and state agencies contributing data will be eligible to receive linked, de-identified data after receiving Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and complying with all applicable federal and state privacy and confidentiality laws and regulations.

Meeting Minutes

For additional information, please contact:
Margaret Koller, Executive Director, Rutgers Center for State Health Policy
p. 848-932-4655, f. 732-932-0069,