Use of Health Services

The National Health Care Survey (NHCS), a family of surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), provides national data based on records from samples of health care providers -- including short-stay hospitals, hospital outpatient and emergency departments, physicians, ambulatory surgical centers, nursing homes, hospices, and home health agencies. The survey is a source of a wide range of data on health care and is a significant resource for monitoring health care use, the impact of medical technology, and the quality of care provided to a changing American population. The NHCS includes the following NCHS surveys, some of which are conducted annually and some periodically: The National Hospital Discharge Survey, the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the National Survey of Ambulatory Surgery, the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, the National Nursing Home Survey, the National Home and Hospice Care Survey, and the National Health Provider Inventory (formerly the National Master Facility Inventory). Information on the use of health services is also collected in the population-based surveys of NCHS, such as the National Health Interview Survey. Different health services variables will be featured periodically on the Social Statistics Briefing Room. Many of these statistics have been published in the annual report Health, United States, a report on the health status of the Nation submitted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to the President and the Congress. For more detailed information on data collection, publications, and public-use data files, go to the NCHS home page.


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