May 21, 2022

Health Research: “New AHRQ Database Tracks Hospital Readmission Rates” (U.S.)

From an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Blog:

If you hear health services researchers talking about a “nerd,” you shouldn’t necessarily assume they’re talking about themselves. For now, they’re probably referring to a new database.

The database in question—the Nationwide Readmissions Database or NRD (hence the nickname, “nerd”)—is the newest addition to AHRQ’s Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). The NRD is the first all-payer nationwide database that supports analysis of hospital readmissions. It’s a comprehensive, “deep-dive” national source of readmissions data, making it an invaluable resource to understand this critically important health policy issue. Put simply, this is the first all-payer database in the country that will let you track readmissions.

For those of you unfamiliar with HCUP, it’s a group of related databases that captures information extracted from administrative data—or a patient’s billing record after he or she is discharged from the hospital. HCUP captures data from all kinds of insurers, including Medicare, Medicaid, commercial payers, and the uninsured, and comprises the largest and most robust database available regarding the care provided to patients in U.S. hospitals.


Why is this important? Readmissions place patients at greater risk of complications and healthcare-associated infections. And, they’re costly; nearly one in five of all hospital patients covered by Medicare are readmitted within 30 days, accounting for $15 billion a year. The NRD can help us quantify and understand these readmissions covered by other payers as well in a deeper, richer, and more complete way.

We’ve already put the NRD to good use by analyzing trends in readmissions for four major health conditions—congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart attack, and pneumonia. According to the resulting Statistical Brief, there were nearly 500,000 readmissions totaling $6.8 billion in aggregate hospital costs for those four conditions in 2013.

Read the Complete Blog Post

Direct to Nationwide Readmissions Database

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.