Services & Data Requests - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Data Do You Collect?
PHC4 collects inpatient discharge records from Pennsylvania hospitals and ambulatory/outpatient procedure records from Pennsylvania hospitals and freestanding surgery centers. The ambulatory/outpatient procedure data consists of select procedures such as surgeries, endoscopies, chemotherapies, and certain cardiovascular procedures. These data are collected on a quarterly basis. PHC4 collects financial data supplied by each hospital and ambulatory surgery center on an annual basis.
Who Do You Collect Data From?
PHC4 collects inpatient data from general acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation, and long-term acute care Pennsylvania hospitals. Ambulatory/outpatient procedure data is collected from freestanding Pennsylvania ambulatory surgery centers and hospital-based surgical units.
Do You Check the Data for Inaccuracies?
Yes, the data is subjected to standard validation/edit processes by PHC4. Facilities are given opportunity to correct the data as needed. The accuracy of the data is reliant on the response of the data sources.
Who Are Common Users of the Data and What Do They Use it For?
Hospitals and health systems request data for internal quality assurance activity, planning, product development, price setting and market share analysis. Researchers have used the data to support such studies as those of trauma system structure and performance, community health assessment, injury incidence and even litigation in civil cases. Government requesters include the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office and individual members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Government projects use PHC4 data for community health assessment studies, public policy, and intervention and prevention programs.
What is Included in the Data Files?
There are over 70 data fields available. Some examples include treatment information such as Diagnosis Related Groups (DRG’s) and Major Diagnostic Categories (MDC’s) in our inpatient discharge database, as well as admission source and type, diagnosis and procedure codes, and discharge status. Length of stay, hospital charges, and patient origin information are also available.
What is a Standard Request?
A standard data request is a selection of one of the PHC4’s pre-programmed standard data sets, which are listed on the application. These standard files have a set price and do not require customized programming.
What is a Custom Request?
A custom data request is one where a subset of data is requested from the standard databases based on the customer’s specifications. An example of a custom request is one in which the customer requests data for all diabetes-related hospitalizations in a particular Pennsylvania county or a report of the number of gall bladder surgeries in a specific region. These types of requests must be created and customized by PHC4 statisticians.
What is the Difference Between a Data Set and a Data Report?
Data sets are patient-level records in a file. Data sets are purchased from customers who plan to conduct their own analysis using the data for further research. Data reports are aggregated summations of the patient-level records.
How Do I Submit a Data Request?
How to Submit a Data Request

For more information contact Special Requests at .