Healthcare Databases


Our experts look forward to collaborating with you for all your analytical research needs, including utilizing healthcare databases. We provide guidance on data available from databases, their usage, and techniques for handling complex survey weights.

Quantitative Health Sciences (QHS) utilizes large healthcare databases to promote health-related research in support of furthering our knowledge in healthcare. QHS has developed an infrastructure resource with a catalog of such databases on the QHS website aided by grants Ola HAWAII (MPI: J. Hedges, N. Mokuau, U54MD007601) and RMATRIX-II (MPI: N. Mokuau, B. Shiramizu, U54MD007584) to support biomedical and healthcare researchers in Hawaiʻ i.

If you are interested in conducting collaborative research using QHS healthcare databases, please feel free to contact us for more details. The faculty and staff at QHS are committed to providing high-quality statistical support.


Databases Available:

BRFSS
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a cross-sectional health-related telephone (landline and cellular) survey that collects state data about United States residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

CMS
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Medicare is a national social insurance program administered by the United States federal government, providing health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities, and individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease.

NHANES
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a survey research program conducted by the National Centers for Health Statistics (NCHS), designed to assess health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States.

NHIS
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is an annual, cross-sectional household interview survey program designed to monitor trends in illness and disability. It can also be used for epidemiologic and policy analysis by the public health research community, tracking progress toward achieving national health objectives, determining barriers to accessing using appropriate health care, and evaluating federal health programs.


Selected Publications Using Healthcare Databases

  • Davis, J, Tam E, and Taira DT. Disparate rates of utilization and progression to combined heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among Asians and Pacific Islanders in Hawaii. Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health. In press.
  • Nakagawa K, Lim E, Harvey S, Miyamura J, and Juarez DT. Racial/ethnic disparities in the association between preeclampsia risk factors and preeclampsia among women residing in Hawaii. Maternal Child Health Journal, 2016 Sep; 20(9):1814-1824. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-1984-2. PMID: 27000850. PMCID: PMC5007163.
  • Davis J, Starr R, and Juarez DT. Evidence-based adherence classes for combination anti-hypertensive, lipid-lowering, and anti-diabetic therapy. American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits. 2015; 7(4): e108-115.
  • Lim E, Miyamura J, and Chen JJ. Racial/ethnic-specific reference intervals for common laboratory tests: a comparison among Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites. Hawaii Journal of Medicine and Public Health. 2015 Sep; 74(9): 302-310. PMCID: PMC4578165.
  • Lim E, Cheng Y, Reuschel C, Mbowe O, Ahn HJ, Juarez D, Miyamura J, Seto BT, and Chen JJ. Risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality models for congestive heart failure and acute myocardial infarction: value of clinical laboratory data and race/ethnicity. Health Services Research, 2015; 50 Suppl1: 1351-1371. PMCID: PMC4545336.
  • Sentell T, Valcour N, Ahn HJ, Miyamura J, Nakamoto B, Chow D, Masaki K, Seto TB, Chen JJ, Shikuma C. High rates of Native Hawaiian and older Japanese adults hospitalized with dementia in Hawai'i. Journal of American Geriatric Society, 2015 Jan; 63(1): 158-164. PMCID: PMC4300272.
  • Sentell T, Miyamura J, Ahn HJ, Chen JJ, Seto T, Juarez D. Potentially preventable hospitalizations for congestive heart failure among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Hawai'i. Journal of Immigrant Minority Health, 2015 Oct; 17(5): 1289-1297. PMCID: PMC4362878.
  • Davis J, Chavez B, and Juarez DT. Adjustments to diabetes medications in response to increases in hemoglobin A1c: an epidemiologic study. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 2014 Jan; 48(1): 41-47.
  • Sentell T, Unick GJ, Ahn HJ, Braun KL, Miyamura J, Shumway M. Illness severity and psychiatric hospitalization rates among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Psychiatric Services, 2013 Nov 1; 64(11): 1095-1102. PMCID: PMC4696860.
BRFSS logo

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a cross-sectional health-related telephone (landline and cellular) survey that collects data about U.S. residents' health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Established in 1984 with data from only 15 states, BRFSS now collects data in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and three U.S. territories. A limited number of states contributed before the year 2000. Due to the thousands of adult interviews conducted every year, it has become the largest conducted health survey system and a powerful tool for developing health promotion activities.

The BRFSS questionnaire has three parts: 1) the core component, consisting of fixed core, rotating core and emerging core, 2) optional modules, and 3) state-added questions. The fixed core is a standard set of questions asked by all states that include questions on demographics and current health behaviors. The rotating core is made up of two distinct sets of questions, each asked in alternating years by all states, addressing different topics. The emerging core is a set of up to five questions that are added to the fixed and rotating cores and typically focuses on “late-breaking” issues.

Hawaiʻ i has participated with the survey since 1986. BRFSS provides a means to monitor long-term health trends. Trends for Hawaiʻ i as an island state being 3,000 miles from the West Coast of the United States and with a unique multiethnic population, may differ substantially from national patterns. Hawaiʻ i BRFSS provides empirical data about health-related risk behaviors, chronic conditions, and the use of preventive services and provides prevalence data for tracking trends and patterns and preparing grant applications. Hawaiʻ i-specific BRFSS data can be requested through The State of Department of Health.

Years Available

Note for Data Users
  • The sample weights are not computed automatically in the database and may be calculated differently for specific research questions. Please consult QHS for further information on how to derive sample weights.
  • The variable names may change over time, and recoded or derived variables may be added in different data cycles. Please check the variable lists for details.
  • National data for years 1984 to 1999 are available on the CDC-BRFSS website.


CMS logo

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are a part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Medicare is a national social insurance program administrated by the U.S federal government, providing health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system, younger people with certain types of disabilities, and individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicaid is a social health care program jointly funded by the state and federal governments for persons of all ages whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for healthcare.

CMS is increasingly releasing its Medicare and Medicaid data for public use. The Medicare and Medicaid data are composed of a series of research databases with information about enrollment in various government programs and data from claims for services provided to beneficiaries. Non-identifiable data files and research identifiable files are provided by CMS to facilitate research across a continuum of healthcare.

QHS has expertise in performing relevant analyses across different CMS data files. If you are interested in conducting a collaborative research project utilizing CMS datasets, please feel free to contact us to discuss your project.



NHANES logo

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a program of studies conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), The survey assesses the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States by integrating interviews and physical examinations. The interviews collect demographics, socioeconomic-related data, and dietary and health-related data. The physical examinations include medical, dental, and physiological measurements and laboratory tests. Both components of the survey can be useful when developing data-driven hypotheses as well as providing data for writing grants.

NHANES offers a variety of national health and clinical data to enrich research studies and compare them with local findings. NHANES may be ideal for epidemiological studies and health sciences research which can help develop public health policies, programs, and services.

Note for Data Users
  • The sample weights are not computed automatically in the database and may need to be calculated differently for specific research questions. Please consult QHS for further information on how to derive sample weights.
  • The variable names may be different across time and recoded or derived variables may be added in different data cycles. Please check the variable lists for details.
  • Please select the variables based on the needs of the study as much as possible due to the limited downloadable file size.
RELATED TOPICS:
  1. Subsample Notes and Data
  2. Continuous NHANES Tutorials
  3. NHANES Sample Weights Tutorials
  4. NHANES Dietary Tutorial
  5. Other Special Topics


NHIS logo

The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is an annual, cross-sectional household interview survey program designed to monitor trends in illness and disability, track progress toward achieving national health objectives, determine barriers to access to appropriate health care, and evaluate federal health programs and policies.

The NHIS questionnaire contains four major components: Household, Family, Sample Adult, and Sample Child. The Household component collects limited demographic information on all the individuals living in a particular house. The Family component verifies and collects additional demographic information on each member from each family in the house and collects data on topics such as health status and limitations, injuries, healthcare access and utilization, health insurance, and income and assets. The Family Core component allows for additional integrated surveys as needed.

From each family, one sample adult and one sample child (if any children are present) are randomly selected to participate in the Sample Adult Core and the Sample Child Core questionnaires. Since some health issues are different for children and adults, these two questionnaires may differ but both collect basic information on health status, health care services, and health behaviors.

Supplements are used to respond to new public health data needs as they arise. It may provide additional detail on a subject already covered in the Core or on other topics, such as cancer screening, complementary and alternative medicine, children’s mental health and healthcare utilization.

Years Available

Note for Data Users
  • The sample weights are not computed automatically in the database and may need to be calculated differently for specific research questions. Please consult QHS for further information on how to derive sample weights.
  • The variable names may be different across time and recoded or derived variables may be added in different cycles. Please check variable lists for details.

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© Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine