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Health Facilities Data Reporting Program

Frequently Asked Questions

About the Program

Overview

The Alaska Health Facilities Data Reporting Program (HFDR) collects inpatient and outpatient discharge data from Alaska health care facilities. The data collected comprise the Alaska Inpatient Database and the Alaska Outpatient Database. Health facilities discharge data show utilization of health services and provide evidence of the conditions for which people receive treatment. Data provide valuable information for decision makers at all levels, monitoring emerging issues in health status and health service delivery, and need for expanded services and facilities.

Data include diagnosis and procedure codes, length of stay, billed charges, expected source of payment, and patient characteristics (age, sex, ZIP code) for each hospital discharge. Reporting burden for facilities is minimized by relying on industry-standard Uniform Billing data and electronic transmission.

Background

Alaska’s system was developed in 2001, with hospitals agreeing to a voluntary participation approach to reporting inpatient discharge data. Outpatient discharges were added in 2008, bringing hospital emergency department, ambulatory surgery, and radiology data into the program. Between 2001 and 2013, DHSS provided grant funding to Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNHA) to facilitate the reporting process and provide data to DHSS under a Memorandum of Understanding governing data security, confidentiality, and data use.

Increasing public and policy-maker interest in health status, healthcare costs, and healthcare quality provided impetus for a more robust data program. Regulations to mandate reporting became effective in December 2014, bringing more facility types into the program and capturing more comprehensive statewide data.

Use of the data

Data from the Health Facilities Data Reporting Program are used for public health planning, community health status assessments, and injury and disease surveillance. They can contribute to quality assessment and performance improvement activities, health services research, and informing policy deliberations and legislation. As a longitudinal data set, trends can be monitored over time; standardization enables comparison to national benchmarks.

Alaska is one of 47 states participating in a national hospital data set through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Known as Health Care Utilization Project (HCUP), this longitudinal hospital care dataset is used for health services research and policy analysis on the national level. Alaska began submitting data in 2011.

Healthy Alaskans 2020, a collaborative effort between the State of Alaska and the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, provides a framework for identifying health priorities and set goals for the Alaska. Among the 25 Leading Health Indicators for the state, indicator #22, Preventable Hospitalizations, is calculated using the Inpatient Database. This indicator measures the rate of hospitalizations for conditions for which good outpatient care can potentially prevent the need for hospitalization or for which early intervention can prevent complications or more severe disease.

Selected publications utilizing Alaska hospital discharge data:

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