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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

Hospital Records
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Hospital records offer one common source of provider records because many provider records are found in one place facilitating compilation.

The quality of these records as a source of statistical estimates depends critically on their degree of standardization.

Standardization depends on the cooperation and participation of provider staff and their indoctrination regarding the definition of signs, symptoms and personal characteristics.

Procedures used to ascertain demographic characteristics—such as age, race and place of residence can critically change the outcome of statistical summaries that feature these variables.

How to find the data
Provider records are not accessible directly by most data users or researchers. Most users gain access to this information after it has been processed and included in other sources.

A key element in access relates to the protection of the rights of clients and patients to keep their medical and personal information private. Providers are expected to protect these rights and they frequently limit access while encouraging the use of aggregated or un-identifiable information.
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