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Press Release Date: March 6, 2000
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today unveiled its new and expanded HCUPnet (http://hcupnet.ahrq.gov/), a free, interactive online service that enables users to get answers in seconds to questions about hospital use, patient outcomes, and hospital charges.
AHRQ's second-generation HCUPnet provides national and regional hospital statistics and, for the first time, enables users to obtain hospital statistics from specific states. With this new feature, users will be able to compare data from individual states with the statistics of neighboring states, and with national and regional hospital data. HCUPnet provides statistics from the following states: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina, and Washington.
A menu guides users step-by-step to obtain the statistics they want. The query service uses aggregate data, which do not permit the identification of individual hospitals and patients.
"HCUPnet is part of AHRQ's expanding line of Web-based services to make its statistics, research findings and other information more easily and more quickly accessible," said John M. Eisenberg, M.D., the agency's director.
Dr. Eisenberg said that AHRQ developed HCUPnet with policymakers and policy analysts in mind primarily; however, the tool has wider application. "I invite all Internet users interested in learning more about hospital inpatient care, including researchers, journalists and students, to use HCUPnet," said AHRQ's director.
The Web-based tool can be used to describe, analyze, track and compare data on hospital admissions; the procedures patients undergo while hospitalized; their outcomes, including death; and what hospitals charge for treating their conditions. Users can analyze hospital care and charges by patient age, sex, income level, type of insurance, type of hospital and other factors.
Examples of the use of HCUPnet include studying the care of specific groups of patients, such as children, women, the elderly and the uninsured; examining in-hospital mortality differences between insured and uninsured patients; projecting the impact of changes in health insurance coverage; examining hospital charges; and describing patterns of care for common as well as uncommon diseases and procedures.
The national and regional statistics accessed by HCUPnet are 1997 data from AHRQ's Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), the only national hospital database with charge information on all patients, regardless of their type of health care coverage, and including the uninsured. This database, which approximates a 20 percent sample of all community hospitals in the United States, incorporates information drawn from roughly 7 million patient discharges from approximately 1,000 community hospitals, academic medical centers and specialty hospitals in 22 states. HCUPnet and NIS are part of a growing family of products from AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), a federal-state-private industry partnership to build a standardized, multi-state health care data system for health care research.
For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Bob Isquith (301) 427-1539 (BIsquith@ahrq.gov).