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J Med Syst. 1999 Jun;23(3):175-81.

Secondary data bases and their use in outcomes research: a review of the area resource file and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

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Department of Family Medicine, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


Secondary data sources are being used more frequently than ever in outcomes research. The speed and relative low cost of these data bases makes them ideal for analyzing outcomes. Today's researcher has numerous secondary data bases available for use. Few publications exist to help researchers locate the ideal data set for their needs. Herein, two national secondary data bases are reviewed: the Area Resource File (ARF) and the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). These two data sets represent the two types of secondary data: aggregate and individual. ARF represents an aggregate data set and HCUP represents an individual data set. The advantages of each type of secondary data will also be reviewed.

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