HCUP e-News: the electronic newsletter of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization ProjectHCUP LOGO

March 2011
Issue #26


News and Announcements: Information on happenings, including newly released databases and products
Recent Publications: A sample of materials, including peer-reviewed journal articles, utilizing HCUP data
Users´ Tech Tip: Answers to commonly asked questions when working with HCUP data
HCUP Calendar: Upcoming conferences or meetings at which HCUP will be represented

Miss the last e-News? Read it on the HCUP-US Website


Coming this Summer: The 2009 NIS and KID

The highly-anticipated 2009 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) and 2009 Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) are each scheduled to be released this June. The NIS is the largest inpatient care database in the U.S., and the KID is the only dataset in the U.S. designed specifically to study hospital use, outcomes, and charges in the pediatric (under age 21) population.

Both the NIS and the KID will include data drawn from 44 states. Each database includes all patients, regardless of payer – covering Medicare, Medicaid, privately insured, and the uninsured.

Once released, the 2009 NIS and KID will be available on HCUPnet and for purchase through the HCUP Central Distributor. Additional information for these and other HCUP databases is available on the HCUP-US Website.

Currently-Available 2009 State Databases

HCUP’s state-level databases are released on a monthly basis, as processing is completed. Researchers and policymakers can use these databases to investigate questions unique to one state; compare data from two or more states; conduct market area research; and identify state-specific trends in utilization, access, quality, charges, and outcomes.

The following 2009 HCUP state databases are currently available:

Available databases are listed on the HCUP Database and Product Release Calendar and in the SID/SASD/SEDD Application Kit. HCUP’s state-and nationwide-level databases are available for purchase through the HCUP Central Distributor. In addition, nationwide and select state databases can be accessed via HCUPnet.

For purchasing questions, please contact the HCUP Central Distributor at HCUPDistributor@ahrq.gov.

Now Available: New NHQR/NHDR Reports and Summaries

Last month, AHRQ released the 2010 National Healthcare Quality Report (NHQR) and National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR). These reports, which show trends in healthcare quality, include data based on more than 200 healthcare quality measures categorized into several areas of quality: effectiveness, patient safety, timeliness, patient-centeredness, care coordination, efficiency, health system infrastructure, and access.

In addition to the new reports, the state-specific Executive Summaries derived from the 2009 NHQR State Snapshots are now available in PDF format on the AHRQ Website. The Executive Summary includes key components from the Snapshots, such as the different healthcare quality composites, and two focus areas: the new Focus on Payer section and an expanded Focus on Disparities portion. State Snapshots for 2010 will be available by the end of May.

Additional details on the NHQR and NHDR can be found in the reports’ press release. Information on the 2009 State Snapshots is located on the AHRQ Website.

New HCUP Statistical Briefs Available on the HCUP-US Website

HCUP Statistical Briefs are short, focused reports on topics related to specific conditions, procedures, or populations.

Recently-released Statistical Briefs include:

These and other HCUP Statistical Briefs can be found on the HCUP-US Website.

Join AHRQ for an HCUP Training Workshop this Spring

On May 11, AHRQ will sponsor a full-day workshop for health services researchers interested in learning more about our data resources at AHRQ Headquarters, located in Rockville, Maryland. Ideal for researchers with intermediate knowledge of HCUP, participants will work with the HCUP databases and related tools (including HCUPnet) through manipulation of the data. A particular focus of the training will be on the HCUP Supplemental Variables for Revisit Analyses. Access to HCUP databases will also be provided during the workshop.

Registration will open March 28 and information will be available on the HCUP-US Website at that time. Based on previous workshop enrollments, this training session is likely to reach capacity quickly. Additional information for this event is located on the HCUP Events page of the HCUP-US Website. We hope to see you there!

Keeping Up with HCUP: Recent Events

Since the end of December, HCUP staff has participated in several conference events, including:

A complete list of HCUP events is available on the HCUP Calendar. We have a number of events coming up this year, and we always enjoy meeting HCUP users. If you are in attendance, please stop by and say hello!


Nalliah RP, Allareddy V, Elangovan S, Karimbux N, Allareddy V. Hospital based emergency department visits attributed to dental carries in the United State in 2006. J Evid Based Dent Pract. 2010 Dec;10(4):212-22.

This study used the 2006 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) to estimate hospital-based ED visits attributed to dental carries and to evaluate payer information for ED visits for adults and children in the United States. The research showed nearly 330,800 ED visits involved dental carries in 2006, with total charges of $110 million. Approximately 45 percent of all visits by adults occurred among the uninsured, and 38 percent of visits occurred among those residing in low-income areas. The article abstract is available via Pubmed.

Elixhauser A, Andrews RM. Profile of inpatient operating room procedures in US hospitals in 2007. Arch Surg. 2010 Dec;145(12):1201-8.

This analysis used hospital discharge data from the 2007 Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) and the 1997-2006 NIS Trends Supplemental files to provide an overview of inpatient operating room (OR) procedures and analyze their associated hospital costs. The study found that 15 million OR procedures were performed in 2007, a rate of 495 procedures per 10,000 population. Only 26.4 percent of hospitalizations involved an OR procedure; however, these stays were responsible for 46.8 percent of hospital costs ($161 billion). The article abstract is available via Pubmed.

To read additional recently-published articles featuring HCUP data, please visit the Research Spotlights page on the HCUP-US Website.


Publishing with HCUP data

To date, HCUP data have been used in more than 1,300 peer-reviewed health and economic articles, as well as television reports, mainstream newspapers, and lifestyle magazines. While the majority of articles use the HCUP databases in a manner that is appropriate, occasional misuses occur. In this issue’s Users’ Tech Tip, we discuss some improper uses, resources to help alleviate these issues, and questions HCUP’s User Support team has received regarding publishing with HCUP data.

Common Publication Issues
Common publication issues include improper weighting of the nationwide data, using the incorrect names or descriptions of the databases, and using the nationwide databases for state-level analyses.

Properly Weighting Nationwide Data
Data from the nationwide databases (NIS, KID, and NEDS) purchased from the HCUP Central Distributor have not been weighted – discharge and hospital weights will need to be applied to produce nationwide estimates. Discharge weights are stored on each record in the data element DISCWT. Hospital weights are stored in the data element HOSPWT, on each hospital record in the Hospital File. Guidance on how to properly weight the data can be found in the HCUP Online Tutorial Producing HCUP National Estimates.

If you use HCUPnet (HCUP’s online query system), the weighting has already been applied. The results that you receive are national estimates. HCUP’s state databases (SID, SASD, and SEDD) do not need to be weighted, as they are a census of encounters within a state.

Describing and Referring to HCUP Databases
The HCUP DUA requires citation of HCUP and the specific databases in the abstract and manuscript. A common issue found by our Publications team is citing the HCUP databases by a similar yet not correct name, providing a description of the database that is close but not exact, or omitting the database name from the abstract.

Below are the proper names for each database:

Descriptions for each database can be found on its corresponding Overview page. Publication instructions and citation examples are provided on the HCUP-US Website.

Using the Appropriate Database
Because of the sampling methodology used to create the nationwide databases, the NIS, KID, and NEDS should not – and cannot, in the case of the NEDS – be used to generate state-level estimates. While the nationwide databases include weights to allow researchers to generate national estimates from the raw counts, no weights are included for the calculation of state-level estimates. "State" is included in the NIS and KID as a data element only for linkage purposes, such as to let you link the NIS to state-level data on relative generosity of State Medicaid programs.

To calculate state-specific estimates, HCUP recommends using our state-level databases (the SID, SASD, and SEDD). Additional information about the state databases can be accessed from the Databases page on the HCUP-US Website. For additional information on the NIS and KID design, please refer to their respective Design Reports, located on the Related Reports links on the HCUP-US Website.

Using Graphics from HCUP Reports or Links to HCUP-US
If you would like to use graphics from reports or include links to the HCUP-US Website, no special permission is needed. AHRQ does request, however, that the information is properly cited and not used in a way that implies you are an official representative of AHRQ or the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

To cite, provide the recommended citation as shown in the report or the internet citation at the bottom of the webpage.

For additional questions, please contact User Support at hcup@ahrq.gov.


March 20-23, 2011: 24th Annual Children’s Mental Health Research and Policy Conference – Tampa, FL

AHRQ staff will present a poster on the 2009 Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) during the 24th Annual Children's Mental Health Research and Policy Conference at the Hyatt Regency. An exhibit booth will also available throughout the conference. Additional information is available on the conference website. Exit Disclaimer

May 11, 2011: HCUP Data Users’ Workshop – Rockville, MD

AHRQ will sponsor a full-day workshop for health services researchers interested in using HCUP data resources at AHRQ Headquarters. Registration details will be available on the HCUP-US Website.

May 21-25, 2011: International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 16th Annual International Meeting – Baltimore, MD

AHRQ staff will provide an in-depth 60-minute introduction to the HCUP databases and related products on May 23 from 3:00-4:00 P.M. during the ISPOR 16th Annual Meeting at the Hilton Baltimore. Staff will also present three HCUP Posters, and an exhibit booth will be staffed throughout the conference. Additional conference information is located on the ISPOR website. Exit Disclaimer

June 12-14, 2011: AcademyHealth 2011 Annual Research Meeting – Seattle, WA

AHRQ staff will chair a panel presentation entitled "HCUP Data and Tools for Research" on June 12 from 11:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M. during the AcademyHealth 2011 Annual Research Meeting at the Washington Convention Center. The session will provide information on how to access and use these resources, as well as examples of research findings based on HCUP. A poster will also be presented, and an exhibit booth will be staffed throughout the conference. Additional conference information is located on the AcademyHealth website. Exit Disclaimer

June 12-16, 2011: Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) Annual Conference – Pittsburgh, PA

HCUP representatives will staff an exhibition booth during the 2011 CSTE Annual Conference at the 2011 CSTE Annual Conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Additional conference information is located on the CSTE website. Exit Disclaimer

July 11-13, 2011: International Health Economics Association (iHEA) 8th World Congress on Health Economics – Toronto, Ontario, Canada

HCUP will provide a presentation entitled "Explanatory Tests of Geographic Variation in Healthcare Expenses and Efficiency" during iHEA’s 8th World Congress on Health Economics at the Sheraton Centre Toronto. Additional conference information is located on the iHEA website. Exit Disclaimer

For a complete list of HCUP presentations and events, visit the HCUP Events Calendar, located on the HCUP-US Website.


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