Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)

HCUP is the Nation's most comprehensive source of hospital care data, including information on in-patient stays, ambulatory surgery and services visits, and emergency department encounters. HCUP enables researchers, insurers, policymakers and others to study health care delivery and patient outcomes over time, and at the national, regional, State, and community levels.

Find complete program information on the HCUP-US Web Site.

Generate your own health care statistics on HCUPnet.

Select for visual displays of the latest HCUP-based statistics on select topics on HCUP Fast Stats.

Overview of HCUP

The Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP, pronounced "H-Cup") is a family of databases, software tools and related products developed through a Federal-State-Industry partnership and sponsored by AHRQ. HCUP databases are derived from administrative data and contain encounter-level, clinical and nonclinical information including all-listed diagnoses and procedures, discharge status, patient demographics, and charges for all patients, regardless of payer (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, uninsured), beginning in 1988. These databases enable research on a broad range of health policy issues, including cost and quality of health services, medical practice patterns, access to health care programs, and outcomes of treatments at the national, State, and local market levels.

The HCUP databases are based on the data collection efforts of data organizations in participating States that have partnered with AHRQ.

HCUP Databases

National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS)

The National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) is the largest publicly available all-payer hospital inpatient care database in the United States. Researchers and policymakers use NIS data to identify, track, and analyze trends in health care utilization, access, charges, quality, and outcomes.

Kids' Inpatient Database (KID)

The Kids' Inpatient Database (KID) is composed of hospital inpatient stays for children and is specifically designed to allow researchers to study a broad range of conditions and procedures related to children's health. Researchers and policymakers can use KID data to identify, track, and analyze health care utilization, access, charges, quality, and outcomes.

Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS)

The Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) captures information on emergency department (ED) visits that do not result in an admission as well as ED visits that result in an admission to the same hospital. The NEDS enables analyses of ED utilization patterns and supports public health professionals, administrators, policymakers, and clinicians in their decisionmaking regarding this critical source of care.

Nationwide Readmissions Database

The Nationwide Readmissions Database (NRD) is a unique and powerful database designed to support various types of analyses of national readmission rates for all payers and uninsured individuals. This database addresses a large gap in health care data—the lack of nationally representative information on hospital readmissions for all ages.

State Inpatient Databases (SID)

The State Inpatient Databases (SID) are a set of hospital databases containing the universe of the inpatient discharge abstracts from participating States, translated into a uniform format to facilitate multi-State comparisons and analyses. Researchers and policymakers use the SID to investigate questions and identify trends unique to one State, to compare data from two or more States, and to conduct market area research or small area variation analyses.

State Ambulatory Surgery and Services Databases (SASD)

The State Ambulatory Surgery and Services Databases (SASD) include encounter-level data for ambulatory surgery and other outpatient services from hospital-owned facilities. In addition, some States provide data for ambulatory surgery and outpatient services from nonhospital-owned facilities.

State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD)

The State Emergency Department Databases (SEDD) are a set of databases that capture discharge information on all emergency department visits that do not result in an admission. The SEDD combined with SID discharges that originate in the emergency department are well suited for research and policy questions that require complete enumeration of hospital-based emergency departments within market areas or States.

HCUP databases can be purchased through the Online HCUP Central Distributor.

HCUP Statistical Briefs

HCUP Statistical Briefs present simple, descriptive statistics on a variety of topics including specific medical conditions as well as hospital characteristics, utilization, quality, and cost.

HCUP Publication Searches

Research Spotlights features recent examples of peer-reviewed publications utilizing HCUP data.

Search for peer-reviewed articles and other reports based on HCUP data or products.

And More, Including:

  • HCUP Methods Series.
  • HCUP Projections.
  • HCUP Nationwide Database Reports.
  • HCUP State Database Reports.

Tools and Software

HCUPnet: Instant Access to Hospital Statistics

HCUPnet is a free, online query system based on data from HCUP that provides access to health statistics and information on hospital inpatient and emergency department utilization.

How to Use HCUP to Create County-Level Statistics, Graphics, and Maps

AHRQ has released new HCUP county- and region-level statistics on hospital stays. Through tables, graphs, and maps, this community-level information can provide the focused view necessary to inform local health policy and improvements in the health care system.

HCUP Fast Stats: The Latest Visually-Displayed HCUP-Based Statistics for Health Information Topics

HCUP Fast Stats provides easy access to the latest statistics in hospital and ED use for specific topics. You can monitor state-level trends to look at the effect of Health Insurance Expansion on inpatient and ED Use by State. You can get national statistics on use and costs in ready-to-use tables and graphs.

AHRQ Quality Indicators

AHRQ Quality Indicators (QIs) are measures of health care quality that use hospital inpatient administrative data and can be used to highlight potential quality concerns, identify areas that need further study and investigation, and track changes over time.

And More, Including:

  • Clinical Classifications Software (CCS).
  • Chronic Condition Indicator (CCI).
  • Comorbidity Software.
  • Procedure Classes.
  • Utilization Flags.
  • Cost-to-Charge Ratio (CCR) Files.
  • Hospital Market Structure (HMS) Files.
  • HCUP Supplemental Variables for Revisit Analyses.
  • American Hospital Association (AHA) Linkage Files.
  • National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) Hospital Ownership Files.
  • National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample Trends (NIS-Trends) Files.
  • Kids' Inpatient Database Trends (KID-Trends) File.

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Page last reviewed October 2019
Page originally created May 2013
Internet Citation: Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). Content last reviewed October 2019. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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