Database Description

North Carolina Hospital Discharge Data

Prior to 1995, the Medical Database Commission (MDC) collected hospital discharge data. On September 31, 1995, the North Carolina General Assembly eliminated the MDC and set up an alternative system for the reporting of discharge data. Since 1996, hospitals have reported data to a Statewide Data Processor (currently Truven Health Analytics)  as set forth by the Medical Care Data Act of 1995 (Article 11a of Chapter 131E of the North Carolina General Statutes).

Since 1996, the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research has worked under contract with the North Carolina Division of Health Services Regulation (DHSR) to store, maintain and analyze the NC Discharge databases. These databases are not public records, but are available for research.

Data variables include patient characteristics, clinical information such as diagnosis and procedure codes and length of stay, payer information, charge information, admission source and patient status. Variables are not always consistent from year to year. See data dictionary sample page for more information.


Years Available through the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research (fiscal year files):

NC Inpatient Discharge Database

  • FY 1989-1994: data from the Medical Database Commission
  • FY 1995: data not available
  • FY 1996-2015: data from Truven Health Analytics

NC Hospital Outpatient & Ambulatory Surgery Discharge Data

  • FY 1997-2015: data from Truven Health Analytics (beginning 2012 this data includes expanded collection of all hospital outpatient procedures)

NC Emergency Room Discharge Data

  • FY 2007-2015: data from Truven Health Analytics

Years Available through HCUP/AHRQ (annual year files):

North Carolina data, along with many other state’s data, can also be obtained from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), a state-federal-industry database partnership conducted through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). See The HCUP Central Distributor for fees and ordering information. HCUP has additional tools and software available free of charge.

NC State Inpatient Database (SID)  availability of data elements by year

  • Annual Year 2000-2015

NC State Ambulatory Surgery Database (SASD) availability of data elements by year

  • Annual Year 2000-2015

NC State Emergency Department Database (SEDD) availability of data elements by year

  • Annual Year 2007-2015

HCUPnet is a free, on-line query system based on data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). It provides access to health statistics and information on hospital inpatient, ambulatory surgery and emergency department utilization. Search on national or state data.