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AHCPR Unveils New Inpatient Data Product

Press Release Date: April 29, 1996

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research today announced the availability of its Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) Release 2 containing 1993 data on hospital inpatient care, conditions, services and costs.

The NIS consists of 6.5 million patient records from a geographically dispersed sample of 900 community hospitals in 17 States. NIS Release 2 and NIS Release 1—issued by AHCPR last year and containing inpatient data from hospitals in 11 States from 1988 to 1992—form the largest, most powerful source of hospital discharge-level information in the United States. NIS Release 2 consists of a set of six CD-ROMs that are designed to be run on desktop computers.

The data will prove useful to both public- and private-sector organizations interested in hospital care. NIS Release 1 data, for example, have been used to compare services and other information within managed care organizations and hospital chains with national data; to prioritize strategies for product development by studying conditions treated in hospitals; and to determine the costs of treating specific conditions. Among those who have ordered NIS Release 1 data are health insurance companies, managed care organizations, hospitals, health care consultants, pharmaceutical manufacturers, medical device companies, trade associations, special-interest groups, State government agencies and medical schools.

NIS Release 2 contains hospital identifiers so that users can obtain detailed information on individual hospitals by linking the data with the American Hospital Association's Survey of Hospitals. In addition, users can obtain county-level information, such as the availability of medical personnel and services, by linking the NIS data to the Bureau of Health Professions' Area Resource File. Weights included in the NIS data allow users to produce national estimates.

NIS Release 2 includes information on more than 100 variables, such as patient demographic characteristics, diagnoses and procedures, admission and discharge status, length of stay, expected pay source and total charges. To protect privacy, data elements that could directly or indirectly identify individual patients and physicians are excluded. Hospital-level information includes the name and address of the facility, teaching status, rural or urban location, type of ownership and size.

The NIS databases and companion State Inpatient Database were developed as part of AHCPR's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP-3) through a public-private partnership with State governments and hospital associations.

The HCUP-3 Nationwide Inpatient Sample Release 2 (PB96-501325) is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Va. 22161; tel: (703) 605-6000 or 800-553-6847. The set of six CD-ROMs comes in ASCII format and sells for $160. The set includes documentation in Adobe® Acrobat® (a Windows® Reader™ is provided) and NIS tools (including load programs for SAS and SPSS). NIS Release 1 (PB95-503710) is available on a set of 26 CD-ROMs and sells for $300.

Users must sign and return a Data Use Agreement supplied by NTIS before either set will be shipped. Users must agree to use the data for research and aggregate statistical reporting, to make no attempt to identify individuals, and to not identify hospitals in disseminated or published materials.

For more information on HCUP-3, contact

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: or Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.

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