Methods Core

Data Acquisition

Primary Data Collection

The Methods Core staff has extensive experience implementing a wide variety of data collection processes, from door-to-door surveys to online data capture. We can assist you with sample design, power analysis, and data capture process design. We create online surveys using REDCap.

Secondary Data

The Methods Core staff has experience in negotiating data use agreements and can help investigators access and use many of the publicly available data sets relevant to outcomes and health services research.  We also have several important data sets on-site. 

Methods Core Data Library

While we can help you obtain many datasets, we do have important data holdings available to our affiliates. We attempt to keep the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and MarketScan databases up-to-date, while other databases can be updated on an as-needed basis.

Health Care Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP)

Conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the HCUP studies are the Nation's most comprehensive source of hospital data, including information on in-patient care, ambulatory care, and emergency department visits. The Methods Core holds data files for the National Inpatient Sample from 1988 to 2012 and the Children's Inpatient Database from 2003 to 2012. CHeSS affiliates may access these data sets after signing the HCUP Data Use Agreement (DUA) and completing the required training. 

The Truven Health MarketScan® Databases

The Truven Health MarketScan Databases consist of several different datasets. The Commercial Claims and Encounters (CCAE) database is a nationally representative collection of inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical claims from more than 200 insurance carriers and large, self-insuring companies. The Medicare Supplemental and Coordination of Benefits (MDCR) database consists of claims for Medicare-eligible retirees with employer-sponsored supplemental plans.

The CHeSS Methods Core licenses the 2003-2013 CCAE & MDCR data. This data is available to CHeSS affiliates to support proposal development and to conduct unfunded research. We request that researchers support our licensing fee.

Researchers wishing to use this data will need to register with Truven Health Analytics through the Methods Core.

Other Databases

We hold partial series for a number of federal databases, including:

Area Resource File (ARF)

  • Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration, this is a county-level file with a broad range of current and historical measures of health care professions, health professions training, health facilities, hospital utilization, hospital expenditures, population and economics, and environment.
  • These data are collected from a variety of sources, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, the US Census Bureau, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Center for Health Statistics.