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New hospital emergency department database available

Research Activities, September 2009

The 2006 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) is the newest Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) database released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The NEDS is the largest all-payer emergency department (ED) database in the United States. The NEDS was created to enable analyses of ED use patterns and to aid public health professionals, administrators, policymakers, and clinicians in finding the data they need to answer questions about care that occurs in U.S. hospital EDs.

NEDS information on hospital characteristics, patient characteristics, geographic region, and the nature of ED visits has many research applications. It can be used to generate national estimates on the number of ED visits in all community hospitals, by region, urban/rural location, teaching status, ownership, and trauma designation. It also provides in-depth information on acute management of patients for all visits, including the reason for the visit, treatments received, and what happened to them at the end of the visit (for example, admitted to the hospital, discharged home, or transferred to another hospital), the charge for their care, and who was billed. For example, the 2006 NEDS contains data from 26 million ED visits, and encompasses all encounter data from nearly 1,000 hospital-based EDs in 24 States.

The NEDS approximates a 20 percent stratified sample of EDs from community hospitals. Weights are provided to calculate national estimates pertaining to the 120 million ED visits that took place in 2006. The database was constructed using records from both the HCUP State Emergency Department Databases and the State Inpatient Databases. The NEDS provides information on "treat-and-release" ED visits, as well as ED visits in which the patient was admitted to the same hospital for further care.

The 2006 NEDS can be purchased through the HCUP Central Distributor at Some 2006 NEDS data are available in HCUPnet, at, a free online query system.

More information about the NEDS and other HCUP products can be found on the HCUP-US Website at

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Page last reviewed September 2009
Internet Citation: New hospital emergency department database available: Research Activities, September 2009. September 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.