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AHCPR Announces Latest Release of Inpatient Data

Media Advisory Date: January 29, 1997

The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research today announced the availability of its Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) Release 3, containing 1994 data on hospital inpatient care, conditions, services and costs.

Developed as part of AHCPR's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP-3), the NIS consists of 6.4 million patient records from a geographically dispersed sample of 904 community hospitals in 17 states. NIS Release 3—together with NIS Releases 1 and 2—form the largest, most powerful source of discharge-level information for hospital inpatients, regardless of payer, in the United States. NIS Release 3, which consists of six CD-ROMs designed to run on desktop computers, contains information on more than 100 variables, including:

  • Patient demographic characteristics.
  • Total patient charges.
  • Median income for patient's area of residence.
  • Diagnoses and procedures.
  • Admission and discharge status.
  • Links to hospital and community characteristics.
  • Length of stay.
  • Weights for national estimates.
  • Expected pay source.

As with past releases, the data will prove useful to both public- and private-sector organizations interested in hospital care. Data from previous releases have been used to compare services of various types of payers; to assess treatment variations; to prioritize strategies for product development by studying conditions treated in hospitals; and to determine the costs of treating specific conditions. More than 200 organizations are now using NIS data.

In addition, the hospital identifiers in NIS Release 3 allow users to obtain detailed information on individual hospitals by linking the data with the American Hospital Association's Survey of Hospitals. Users can also 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. The weights included in the NIS data allow users to produce national estimates.

The HCUP-3 Nationwide Inpatient Sample Release 3 is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS publication number PB 97-500433), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Va. 22161; telephone (703) 605-6000 or 800-553-6847. The set of six CD-ROMs comes in ASCII format and sells for $160.00. The set includes documentation in Adobe® Acrobat® (a Windows® Reader™ is provided) and NIS tools (to assist SAS and SPSS users). NIS Release 1, which presents data for 1988-92, is available on a set of 26 CD-ROMs at a cost of $300. NIS Release 2, covering 1993, is available on six CD-ROMS and costs $160. Users of NIS data must sign and return a Data Use Agreement supplied by NTIS before their CD-ROM set can be shipped.

For more information, E-mail

For additional information, contact AHCPR Public Affairs: Howard Holland, (301) 427-1857; Salina Prasad, (301) 427-1864.

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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