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American Hospital Association Annual Survey

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Dataset Summary

The American Hospital Association Annual Survey of Hospitals is an annual survey of 6,500 hospitals in the United States.  Extensive data is collected on a variety of topics including hospital organizational structure, facilities and services, utilization data, physician arrangements, staffing, and community orientation.  It has often been used in conjunction with other datasets, for example in combination with the National Inpatient Sample.  Data is available for purchase on CD-ROM; price varies substantially depending on one’s academic and/or hospital affiliation.  Other specialized features and data pulls are also available as described below.

Expert comments  

The AHA annual survey is the most comprehensive and authoritative source on U.S. hospitals, and their associated characteristics.  Although the dataset can be used independently for studies of hospitals, many health care researchers link these data to other administrative or medical datasets, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and state or national inpatient datasets.  Such linkages permit the analysis of patterns of practice and healthcare outcomes by types of hospitals. Almost 900 variables are present that permit categorization of hospitals based on size, ownership (for-profit, not-for-profit, government, system, etc), teaching status, and the presence of many facilities and services. The presence of addresses and latitude and longitude coordinates permits geographic analyses, particularly the distances between hospitals or from patient residences to hospitals.
The AHA reports approximately an 85% response rate to the survey each year. For those hospitals not responding in a given year, statistical models are used to estimate a number of key variables. Flags indicate estimated variables. The presence of facilities and services is not estimated. Information is available on the estimation methods used. It is possible to obtain historical data from prior years as well.

Dataset Details

Dataset owner/manager    

American Hospital Association

Study and sample characteristics    

Serial cross-sectional study of 6500 United States hospitals. 

Major foci   

The survey contains information on a variety of hospital characteristics and utilization data, including
•    Demographics
•    Organizational structure
•    Facilities and services
•    Utilization data
•    Community orientation indicators
•    Physician arrangements
•    Managed care relationships
•    Expenses
•    Staffing
Over 800 data fields are available for analysis.

Special supplements and resources   

The American Hospital Association offers Quick Reports and Custom Reports for purchase and download.


Links to other datasets   

Previous studies have linked AHA Annual Survey data to other inpatient datasets including the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) and CDC’s National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System. 

Examples of this are described in Dimick JB et al, Arch Surg. 2004 Feb;139(2):137-41 and Klevens RM et al, Public Health Rep. 2007 Mar-Apr;122(2):160-6

Papers published   

Click here for a PubMed search for articles using this dataset. 

Examples of papers published using AHA Annual Survey data include:
 Variations in inpatient mortality among hospitals in different system types, 1995 to 2000.
Chukmaitov AS, Bazzoli GJ, Harless DW, Hurley RE, Devers KJ, Zhao M.
Med Care. 2009 Apr;47(4):466-73.

The provision of hospital chaplaincy in the United States: a national overview.
Cadge W, Freese J, Christakis NA.
South Med J. 2008 Jun;101(6):626-30.

Estimating health care-associated infections and deaths in U.S. hospitals, 2002.
Klevens RM, Edwards JR, Richards CL Jr, Horan TC, Gaynes RP, Pollock DA, Cardo DM.
Public Health Rep. 2007 Mar-Apr;122(2):160-6.

Hospital teaching status and outcomes of complex surgical procedures in the United States.
Dimick JB, Cowan JA Jr, Colletti LM, Upchurch GR Jr.
Arch Surg. 2004 Feb;139(2):137-41.

Geographic variation in the use of breast-conserving treatment for breast cancer.
Nattinger AB, Gottlieb MS, Veum J, Yahnke D, Goodwin JS.
N Engl J Med. 1992 Apr 23;326(17):1102-7.

Help Desk   

AHA Resource Center