National Hospital Discharge Survey, 1985 (ICPSR 8868)

Principal Investigator(s): United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics


This annual survey was conducted to provide current data on hospitalization and morbidity in the United States. The data include basic demographic characteristics of the discharged patients (age, sex, race, ethnicity, marital status), their geographic (zip code) location, and their expected sources of payment for hospital bills. Medical information in the survey includes length of stay in hospital, discharge vital status, and type of discharge (routine, against medical advice, transferred to other short-term hospital, transferred to long-term care institution). Also included are surgical and diagnostic procedures while hospitalized, as well as principal and other final diagnoses. Hospital data are provided for geographic region of the country, number of beds, and hospital ownership (proprietary, government, nonprofit-church, nonprofit-other).

Series: National Hospital Discharge Survey Series

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Study Description


U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. NATIONAL HOSPITAL DISCHARGE SURVEY, 1985. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics [producer], 1985. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1988.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    demographic characteristics, health care facilities, hospitalization, hospitals, illness, medical care, medical evaluation, medical procedures, medical records, patients, payment methods, treatment

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1985

Date of Collection:   

  • 1985

Universe:    The 1985 National Master Facility Inventory of Hospitals and Institutions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia constitutes the universe for hospitals in the discharge survey, and the selected hospitals' daily discharge listings constitute the universe of patient records. The Inventory in 1985 consisted of 6,007 non-Federal short-stay hospitals.

Data Type(s):    survey data, and event data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) Data contain blanks. (2) Persons ages 65 years and over constitute 30 percent (weighted data) of the hospital discharges. (3)THE INTERNATIONAL CLASSIFICATION OF DISEASES, 9TH REVISION, CLINICAL MODIFICATION was applied to code diagnoses and surgeries for "significant procedures." Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs) may be obtained by converting the data with the Health Care Financing Administration's DRG Grouper Program, but this is not included in the file.


Sample:    All non-Federal short-stay hospitals with 1,000 beds or more were selected with certainty. All hospitals with less than 1,000 beds were stratified into 24 size-by-region classes, from which a controlled selection technique sampled 558 hospitals, proportionately distributed by type of ownership and geographic region. A total of 414 hospitals was surveyed. The within-hospital discharges were randomly sampled in inverse proportion to size of the hospital. In 1985, for the first time, some of the discharge data were obtained through purchase of medical data tapes from commercial abstracting services. Information on use of weights to estimate national or regional figures is provided in the codebook.

Data Source:

medical records

Restrictions: Individual identifiers have been removed from the microdata tapes available from the National Center for Health Statistics. Nevertheless, under section 308(d) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242m), data collected by the National Center for Health Statistics may not be used for any purpose other than statistical reporting. ICPSR member institutions and other users ordering data from ICPSR are expected to employ these data solely for statistical or reporting purposes.


Original ICPSR Release:   1988-06-01

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