National Hospital Care Survey (NHCS)
The National Hospital Care Survey (NHCS) is designed to provide accurate and reliable health care statistics that answer key questions of interest to health care and public health professionals, researchers, and health care policy makers.
The survey describes national patterns of health care delivery in hospital-based settings, including inpatient departments, emergency departments (EDs), and outpatient departments (OPDs). Data elements collected include demographics, diagnoses, procedures, laboratory tests, and medications. Additionally, NHCS collects patient-level identifiers that allow a patient’s episodes of care to be linked between hospital inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as to outside databases such as the National Death Index, providing a more complete picture of patient care.
The 2013-2016 and 2019-2021 unweighted inpatient and ambulatory NHCS datasets are now accessible through the NCHS Research Data Center (RDC). Additionally, preliminary 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 NHCS data used in the dashboard reporting on COVID-19 data and drug use-associated hospital encounters from selected hospitals are available in the NCHS RDC.
- 2013-2014 NHCS Data Dictionary [PDF – 114 KB]
- 2015 NHCS Data Dictionary [PDF – 362 KB]
- 2016 NHCS Data Dictionary [PDF – 1 MB]
- 2019-2021 NHCS Data Dictionary [PDF – 343 KB]
- 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023 NHCS Preliminary Data Dictionary [PDF – 121 KB]
- NHCS Documentation and User’s Guide [PDF – 283 KB]
NCHS has been able to expand the analytic utility of the data collected from the National Hospital Care Survey (NHCS) by linking it with vital and administrative records. The following linked files are available through the RDC:
- 2014 NHCS data linked to 2014-2015 National Death Index (NDI) linked data
- 2014 NHCS Data Linked to the 2014-2015 National Death Index (NDI) Linked to the 2014-2015 Drug-Involved Mortality (DIM) Data [PDF – 222 KB]
- 2014 NHCS data linked to 2014-2015 CMS Medicare Master Beneficiary Summary File (MBSF)
- 2014 NHCS data linked to 2013-2015 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) housing assistance data
- 2016 NHCS data linked to 2016-2017 NDI data
- 2016 NHCS data linked to 2016-2017 CMS Medicare MBSF, Claims/Encounters, and Assessment data
- 2016 NHCS Data with Enhanced Opioid-Identification Linked to the 2016-2017 National Death Index (NDI) Linked to the 2016-2017 Drug-Involved Mortality (DIM) Data [PDF – 710 KB]
- 2016 NHCS Data with Enhanced Identification of Co-occurring Disorders among Opioid-involved Hospital Encounters [PDF – 632 KB]
- 2016 NHCS data linked to 2015-2017 HUD housing assistance data