In order to understand why some children experiencing complications of diabetes stay longer in hospital than others in New Brunswick, Canada, this study used anonymized data on the provincial insulin pump program, hospital records, and residential characteristics to characterize the social and policy factors that may result in shorter hospital overnight stays.

There were an annual average of 97 hospital stays among children aged 18 years and under living with diabetes in the years following New Brunswick’s implementation of the paediatric insulin pump funding policy.

University of New Brunswick (UNB) professor Neeru Gupta noted, “While it is critically important to evaluate the returns to the hospital system of public policies for supporting families with the everyday costs of diabetes management, the evidence has been limited for understanding which policy levers are most sustainable and equitable for the population.”

The research team connected administrative health data that had been routinely collected by the Government of New Brunswick and made available for research use at the university-based New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT).

Using the hospital records and enrolment histories in the funding program, the researchers were able to discern that children who had accessed resources through the social insurance policy spent significantly fewer days in hospital than those who had not.

Not only was the research a valuable demonstration of the use of administrative data to enhance understanding of social determinants of hospital-based health outcomes among children with diabetes, the data availability at the NB-IRDT also served to provide a training opportunity in areas of research and policy evaluation for a UNB graduate student in the Applied Health Services Research program. For the study’s lead author, Heather Higgins, this research formed the basis of her master’s thesis.

For more information on the data holdings and trainings offered by the NB-IRDT, please visit their website at


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Heather Higgins, Master’s student of Applied Health Services Research, University of New Brunswick

Higgins, H. and Gupta, N. (2021) “Characterizing social and policy determinants of hospital length of stay among paediatric inpatients with diabetes using linked population-based data”, International Journal of Population Data Science, 6(1). doi: 10.23889/ijpds.v6i1.1678.