Questions for Lead Author Geoffrey Jackson, Health Statistician, of “National Hospital Care Survey Demonstration Projects: Stroke Inpatient Hospitalizations.”
Q: What was your objective in conducting this study?
GC: The objective of this study is to demonstrate the analytic potential of the National Hospital Care Survey (NHCS) by examining inpatient and emergency department hospital encounters due to stroke. Stroke is a leading cause of death and an economic burden with an estimated $33 billion spent each year on stroke-related health care services. NHCS provides a unique opportunity to study hospital care by examining length of stay and number of admissions due to stroke within the year. Additionally, NHCS is linked to the National Death Index to track mortality 30, 60, and 90 days after the hospitalization. This study shows that NHCS is a valuable data source for analyzing healthcare utilization and post-acute mortality.
Q: Is this a topic you’ve looked at before?
GC: I have not looked at hospitalizations related to stroke prior to this paper. The National Hospital Care Survey has been used in previous NCHS reports to study hospital visits related to pneumonia, Alzheimer disease, and traumatic brain injuries.
Q: Can you explain what the demonstration project is?
GC: A demonstration report is a venue that the National Center for Health Statistics uses to demonstrate the analytic capabilities of data sources that are not yet nationally representative. The National Hospital Care Survey is designed to produce national estimates on hospitalizations and emergency department visits. However, due to low responses rates in 2014, we were not able to produce reliable national estimates for the National Hospital Care Survey.
Q: How can one interpret the results that you found?
GC: The results in this report are not nationally representative. The results are only representative of the 94 National Hospital Care Survey hospitals that provided inpatient data and the 83 hospitals that provided emergency department data.
Q: What is the main point you want people to take away from this study?
GC: The NHCS provides researchers with hospital-related research opportunities not available in other hospital data sources. Even though NHCS data are not nationally representative, insight into the hospital care received by stroke patients is possible through analysis of Intensive Care Unit use, multiple visits due to strokes, and post-acute mortality.