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Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2008 [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2010.

Cover of HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2008

HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2008 [Internet].

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The mission of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans. To help fulfill this goal, AHRQ sponsors the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), a family of health care databases and related software tools, products, and statistical reports to inform policy makers, health system leaders, researchers, and the public.

Through partnerships with a number of State, Federal, and Industry organizations, HCUP has grown from a single database limited to inpatient hospital care to a family of six state- and national-level databases, covering inpatient, ambulatory surgery, emergency department, and pediatric encounters. As a result, HCUP has become the largest all-payer resource of multi-year hospital discharge data from community, non-Federal, short-term (acute care), general, and specialty hospitals in the U.S.

The HCUP databases enable research on a wide range of topics, including treatment use and diagnostic trends, medical practice patterns, readmissions, cost and quality of health services, preventable hospitalizations, payer trends, and outcomes of treatments at the national, state, and local market levels. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), the most popular of the six HCUP databases, and the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (NEDS), are the data sources for the 2008 HCUP Facts and Figures.

This fourth annual edition of HCUP Facts and Figures highlights the rich potential of HCUP by providing targeted analysis of important trends in hospital care organized around high-interest topics, such as hospital and discharge characteristics, diagnoses, procedures, and costs. In addition to providing updates on many topics presented in previously published HCUP Fact Books, Statistical Briefs, and HCUP Facts and Figures, AHRQ has partnered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to produce a special section in this year’s report that details trends in inpatient and emergency department care for mental health and substance abuse conditions.

This report demonstrates the wealth of information accessible through HCUP and illustrates the types of analyses that can be conducted using the NIS. Many of the statistics presented in this report are available online through HCUPnet ( Graphical presentations, statistical tables, and bulleted notes highlight key facts and emerging trends for each topic.

HCUP databases continue to grow: Every year since 1988, HCUP has released new, expanded information on inpatient, emergency department, and ambulatory surgery services. HCUP’s inpatient databases now include more than 95 percent of all community hospital discharges in the U.S. HCUP is positioned to assist in understanding many of the hospital-related health care challenges that Americans will face in the future. As the U.S. embarks on a major health reform initiative to cover the uninsured, expand coverage for other populations, and continue its effort to improve the quality and value of care, AHRQ’s successful collaboration with its HCUP Partners will continue to provide essential hospital information to measure progress towards these goals.

We invite you to tell us how you are using HCUP Facts and Figures and other HCUP data and tools. Please share your stories and suggestions on how HCUP products might be enhanced to further meet your needs by e-mailing us at vog.qrha@puch or sending a letter to the address below.

Irene Fraser, Ph.D.


Center for Delivery, Organization, and Markets

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

540 Gaither Road

Rockville, MD 20850


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