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2003 National Healthcare Quality Report

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Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Mode of Collection

HCUP databases bring together the data collection efforts of state government data organizations, hospital associations, private data organizations, and the Federal government to create a national information resource of discharge-level health care data. See "Sources of HCUP Data" below.

Sample Design

HCUP includes a collection of longitudinal hospital care data, with all-payer, discharge-level information beginning in 1988. Two HCUP discharge datasets were used in this report: The HCUP Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), a nationally stratified sample of hospitals (with all of their discharges) from states that contribute data to the NIS dataset (28 states in the 2000 NIS). Weights are used to develop national estimates. The 2000 NIS contains roughly 7 million discharges from about 1,000 hospitals. Data from 1994, 1997, and 2000 were used in this report.

The 2000 HCUP Statewide Inpatient Databases (SID) include all hospitals (with all of their discharges) from 29 participating states. The 2000 SID contain almost 28 million discharges or nearly 80 percent of the 36 million discharges in the United States.

Primary Database Content

The HCUP NIS and SID contain over 100 clinical and non-clinical data variables including age, gender; race; ethnicity; length of stay; discharge status; source of payment; total charges, hospital size, ownership, region, teaching status; diagnoses and procedures. The AHRQ Quality Indicator software was applied to the HCUP data for measures in the NHQR.

Population Targeted

Hospital discharges from U.S. community, non-rehabilitation hospitals as defined by the American Hospital Association (AHA). The AHA defines community hospital as "all nonfederal, short-term, general, and other specialty hospitals, excluding hospital units of institutions." Included among community hospitals are specialty hospitals such as obstetrics-gynecology, ear-nose-throat, short-term rehabilitation, orthopedic, and pediatric institutions. Also included are public hospitals and academic medical centers. Excluded are short-term rehabilitation hospitals (beginning with 1998 data), long-term hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, and alcoholism/chemical dependency treatment facilities

Demographic Data

Age, gender, race, insurance coverage median income of patient's community (Zip code).

Years Collected

Since 1988.



Geographic Estimates

National, four U.S. Census Bureau regions, and state levels.

Contact Information

Agency homepage:

Data system homepage:

AHRQ Quality Indicators:


  1. Use of AHRQ Quality Indicator Software in Generating NHQR Tables

    For measures using HCUP data, the following AHRQ QI software versions were used as the basis for generating the tables in this report: IQI: Version 2.1; PQI: Version 2.1; PSI: beta test version. For more information see:

    Coffey RM, Barrett ML, Houchens R, Kelley E, Andrews R, Moy E, Kosiak B, Remus D, Methods Applying AHRQ Quality Indicators to Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) Data. HCUP Contract Task 290-00-004 Deliverable 179. Washington, DC: The Medstat Group, Inc., June 2003.

  2. Inpatient Quality Indicators [IQI]

    AHRQ Quality Indicators' Guide to Inpatient Quality Indicators: Quality of Care in Hospitals — Volume, Mortality, and Utilization. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2002. AHRQ Pub. No. 02-RO204.

  3. Prevention Quality Indicators [PQI]

    AHRQ Quality Indicators' Guide to Prevention Quality Indicators: Hospital Admission for Ambulatory Care Sensitive Conditions. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2001. AHRQ Pub. No. 02-R0203.

  4. Patient Safety Indicators [PSI]

    AHRQ Quality Indicators — Patient Safety Indicators: Software Documentation, Version 2.1 — SAS. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2003. AHRQ Pub. 03-R203.

Sources of HCUP Data

Arizona Department of Health Services

California Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development

Colorado Health & Hospital Association

Connecticut- CHIME, Inc.

Florida Agency for Health Care Administration

Georgia- GHA: An Association of Hospitals & Health Systems

Hawaii Health Information Corporation

Illinois Health Care Cost Containment Council

Iowa Hospital Association

Kansas Hospital Association

Kentucky Department for Public Health

Maine Health Data Organization

Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission

Massachusetts Division of Health Care Finance and Policy

Michigan Health & Hospital Association

Missouri Hospital Industry Data Institute

New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services

New York State Department of Health

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Oregon Association of Hospitals & Health Systems

Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council

South Carolina State Budget & Control Board

Tennessee Hospital Association

Texas Health Care Information Council

Utah Department of Health

Virginia Health Information

Washington State Department of Health

Wisconsin Dept of Health & Family Services

West Virginia Health Care Authority

Return to Data Sources Appendix
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