New National Hospital Data Set Now Available

For Release: Friday, February 9, 2001

Contact: NCHS Press Office (301) 458-4800


The most current and only nationally representative data on hospital utilization for inpatients in the United States are now available with the release of the 1999 National Hospital Discharge Survey, from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

The National Hospital Discharge Survey (NHDS) is a large-scale, continuing survey based on a national probability sample of discharges from non-Federal short-stay hospitals in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The NHDS, conducted since 1965, is a comprehensive and timely resource for those examining patterns of hospital use in the United States.

The survey obtains data on the age, gender and other demographic characteristics of patients discharged from the hospital, conditions diagnosed and surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed, as well as information on the hospital, such as size, ownership and region.

Data from the NHDS have been used to study such critical issues in health care in America as: avoidable hospitalizations; effects of legislation on maternal and newborn lengths of stay; changes in inpatient care for patients with HIV; admissions for injury, hysterectomy, and heart attacks; by-pass surgery; the move of inpatient surgery to ambulatory settings; and many other areas of interest.

The 1999 NHDS data set is available at the NCHS Website at Click on Data Warehouse for NHDS files in ASCII format for use with SAS, SPSS or other statistical software program. The NHDS public use files are also available on CD-ROM and contain the analytical software package, Statistical Export and Tabulation Systems. Ordering information is also on the website. The CD-ROM for 1979-99 will be available soon.

For access to variables that are not on the public use file, NCHS operates the Research Data Center which utilizes specialized software to facilitate analyses while maintaining the confidentiality of NCHS data files. The RDC provides technical assistance to users. Linked files between the NHDS and the American Hospital Association’s database, and with the Area Resource File–a county-based health data file–are being developed for use in the RDC.

The NHDS data set and other related information can be obtained by contacting the Hospital Care Statistics Branch at 301-458-4321.

CDC protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.


Page last reviewed: October 6, 2006