Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of pubhealthrepPublic Health Reports
Public Health Rep. 1996 Jan-Feb; 111(1): 78–81.
PMCID: PMC1381747

Using hospital discharge data for disease surveillance.


The authors examine the effectiveness of using hospital discharge data in assessing trends and geographic variations in the occurrence of selected chronic diseases. The Chronic Disease Surveillance System, in place from 1987 to 1991, used hospital discharge data, and Cancer Registry data to tract selected chronic diseases. The authors reviewed data on three diseases: breast cancer, cervical cancer, and lung cancer. A computerized algorithm was used to link multiple records representing a single disease occurrence. To estimate disease occurrence rates from hospital discharge data, repeat admissions for the same disease in any given calendar year were discounted. All rates were directly age-adjusted to the 1985 Maine state population. For all three diseases, the rates obtained from hospital discharge data were higher than Cancer Registry rates. Possible causes for the discrepancies and suggestions for improving the utility of hospital discharge data for chronic disease surveillance are discussed.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (837K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Keller RB, Soule DN, Wennberg JE, Hanley DF. Dealing with geographic variations in the use of hospitals. The experience of the Maine Medical Assessment Foundation Orthopaedic Study Group. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1990 Oct;72(9):1286–1293. [PubMed]

Articles from Public Health Reports are provided here courtesy of SAGE Publications