Data Acquisition

Primary Data Collection

The Methods Core staff has extensive experience in implementing a wide variety of data collection processes. 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. CHeSS affiliates may access the national data sets after signing the HCUP Data Use Agreement (DUA) and completing the required training. Access to state-level databases also requires re-use approval by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

HCUP Database Methods Core Holdings
National (Nationwide) Inpatient Sample (NIS) 1988 to 2013
Kids’ Inpatient Database (KID) 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2016
Emergency Department Sample (NEDS) 2006 to 2013
State Inpatient Databases California (2010 & 2011)


The IBM MarketScan® Research Databases

The IBM MarketScan Research Databases consist of several different data sets:

THE COMMERCIAL CLAIMS AND ENCOUNTERS (CCAE) DATABASE is a national collection of paid inpatient, outpatient, and pharmaceutical claims generated by between 17 and 53 million people per year. The data are collected from over 350 insurance carriers. Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, and third party administrators. 

THE MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTAL AND COORDINATION OF BENEFITS (MDCR) DATABASE consists of claims for Medicare-eligible retirees with employer-sponsored supplemental plans, and has the same structure as the CCAE database. The MDCR database consists of claims from between two and five million people per year. Over time, individuals may be represented in both the CCAE and MDCR databases.

THE MARKETSCAN LAB DATABASE captures the results of lab tests for a subset (over one million) of the patients in the CCAE and MDCR databases. It mainly consists of lab tests ordered in office-based practice.

THE HEALTH AND PRODUCTIVITY MANAGEMENT DATABASE (HPM) consists of linkable information on employee absences, short- and long-term disability, and worker’s compensation for a subset of the enrollees included in the CCAE database.

MarketScan Database Methods Core Holdings
CCAE & MDCR 2003 to 2017
Lab 2008 to 2015
HPM 2005 to 2010

This data is available to CHeSS affiliates to support proposal development and to conduct unfunded research. Funded projects incur a substantial use fee. Please contact the Methods Core for details.


Other Databases


The Chicago Area Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network (CAPriCORN) is a partnership of research institutions, clinicians, patients, and patient advocates. The CAPriCORN mission is to develop, test, and implement policies and programs that will improve health care quality, health outcomes, and health equity for the richly diverse populations of the metropolitan Chicago region and beyond. Within the Chicago metropolitan area, CAPriCORN seeks to address the needs of an estimated 9.5 million residents, including groups that experience significant health inequities partly due to variable access to high-quality care. The University of Chicago Medicine is one of the 11 Chicago area institutions that are part of CAPriCORN

As one of thirteen clinical data research networks (CDRNs) funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), CAPriCORN is able to contribute data and expertise to strengthen the capacity of PCORnet to engage in sustainable, population-wide, and patient-centered outcomes research.

The Methods Core staff can provide guidance and assist researchers navigate the CAPriCORN front door process to access standardized and de-identified data to support patient-centered outcomes research

For more information about CAPriCORN please click here.