SITK17004U  Course in Public Health Informatics

Volume 2017/2018

MSc. in Business Administration and Innovation in Health Care - obligatory in two tracks at CBS


Historical tradition in comprehensive, systematic collection of health data for entire Danish population into national health registers, presents unique opportunities for public health informatics and basis for effective disease surveillance and public health promotion in Denmark. This course  will give an introduction to the field of public health informatics and the key concepts, inlcuding public health, information systems, disease classification, big data management, descriptive epidemiology, data quality and validation. Furthemore, the course will provide an overview of the major Danish health registers and, for selected registers (CPR, Cause of Death Register, Cancer Registry, National Patient Register, Diabetes Register, etc.) a detailed insight will be provided into their background, purpose, historical development, technical apects of data collection and content, and data quality and validity. Examples will be given of Danish register application in epidemiological research in areas such as disease surveillance, risk factors for chronic diseases, prevention and treatment, evaluation of screeing programs, surveilance of epidemics, etc. Students will work with vital disease statistics, such as birth rates, mortality, prevalence and incidence rates for the major chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, diabetes, etc.). Students will learn how to define these different health outcomes from Danish health registers thorugh hands-on exrecises with real register data, by using statistical software Stata.

Learning Outcome

Aim is that the students master the basic public healh informatics and epidemiological concepts and methods, and learn about the most important Danish national registers and diseases/major causes of death. This will be accomplished by exercises in management of register data and programing using statistical software Stata, and by reading and presenting selected state-of-the-art articles which illustrate application of Danish health registers in epidemiological research in areas as prevention/risk factors of chronic diseases, cancer screening, environmental epidemiology, trends in disease occurence, side effects of treatements, etc. Students will also learn to critically evaluate quality of the data in health registers and how to evaluate validity of register data by comparison to alternative data sources. Furthermore, the students should learn to perform the basic epidemiologcal analyses, and program in Stata statistical software: learn to manage and merge large register data, perform descrtiptive analyses, define person-years, calculate mortality rates, prevalence and incidence rates, sensitivty, specificity, and positive predictive value, understand how to interpret relative risk and odds ratios, and critically read and present an epidemiological study/article.   

At the end of the course students should be able to:


  • -explain the content and structrue of the data in the selected Danish health registers

  • - explain different disease classification systems used in Danish registers

  • - understand and explain epidemiological frequency (prevalence, incidence rates) and association measures (relative risk, odds ratio) 

  • - explain the use of registers for both administrative and research purposes

  • -explain the quality indicators and validty of register data and can explain the methods for evaluation of validty

  • -explain the application/use of the register data


  • - perform editing of register data ahead of statistical analyses in Stata

  • - perform analyses of register data in Stata and calculate person-years, mortality rates, prevalence and incidence rates

  • - understand and explain correctly the results/output of the performed analyses in Stata

  • - evaluate and decide whether analyses were made correctly and identify possible sources of error


  • -explain how collected register data can be used as quality indicators

  • -explain application of register data in descriptive and analytical epidemiology

  • -explain under which circumstances data can be used in informing the citizens 
  • -analyze register data
  • -explain the balance between detail and 'noise' in data (missclasification and statistical variation) i registers

  • -understand, interpret and disseminate results of analyses based on Danish register data from published epidemiological studies in peer-reviewed journals

Epidemiological articles, textbook: Gordis 'Epidemiology',  

Lectures and exercises with register data in Stata statistical software
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 min
Presentation of the epidemiological article chosen by the teacher, by power point (IMRAD style), 10-15 minutes, with 10-15 minutes for questions
Without aids
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

Clear presentations and illustratation of the basic understanding of the aim, content, and major conslusions of article, epidemiological methods and registers used, corretc intrepertation of findings, as well as major strengths and weaknesses of the article.  

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Exercises
  • 27
  • Seminar
  • 9
  • Exam
  • 5
  • Preparation
  • 141
  • Total
  • 206