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AHRQ announces availability of ambulatory surgery databases

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has announced the availability of a new set of databases from the Agency's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). HCUP is a Federal-State-industry partnership dedicated to building a multi-State data system and making high-quality health care data more readily available to researchers and policy analysts. This new resource—the State Ambulatory Surgery Databases (SASD)—provides data on ambulatory surgery encounters in Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Utah.

According to AHRQ's Director John M. Eisenberg, M.D., SASD will spur research that examines the migration of surgical procedures from inpatient to outpatient settings. For example, how does the distribution of surgical procedures between inpatient and outpatient settings vary by State and by payer? Do outcomes vary according to setting?

SASD files contain uniformly formatted abstracts from hospital-affiliated ambulatory surgery sites; some include records from freestanding surgery centers as well. Each State database contains a core set of clinical and nonclinical data, including principal and secondary diagnoses and procedures, patient demographics, total charges, discharge status, and patients' expected payment source, including Medicare, Medicaid, and no insurance. The databases contain hospital identifiers that permit linkages to hospital-level and county-level databases.

SASD files are available for purchase in CD-ROM format from HCUP Central Distributor, the MEDSTAT Group, 5425 Hollister Avenue, Suite 140, Santa Barbara, CA 93111; telephone 1-805-681-5876; fax 1-805-681-5888; E-mail hcup@medstat.com. Data files from the State Inpatient Databases (SID) also are available from the HCUP Central Distributor.

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