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Discharge Abstract Database

Program Overview

The Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) contains data on facility discharges across Canada.


The DAD supports CIHI’s mandate to deliver quality, unbiased, relevant and reliable information to support decision-making and informed health care discussion. It

  • Collects, processes and analyzes summaries of hospital discharges and day surgery procedures;
  • Supports management decision-making at the hospital, regional and provincial/territorial levels;
  • Facilitates provincial and national comparative reporting;
  • Supports the development and use of analytical tools, such as case grouping methods, length of stay analysis and resource utilization analysis; and
  • Supports related approved analysis and research by others.

Please refer to the document DAD—Frequently Asked Questions for further information about the database.

Data Collection

CIHI receives data directly from participating facilities or from their respective health/regional authority or ministry/ department of health. Data collection methods may vary by facility.

Data Elements

The DAD contains demographic, administrative and clinical data for

  • Hospital discharges (inpatient acute, chronic and rehabilitation); and
  • Day surgery interventions.

Download DAD Data Elements

Data Quality

Through our Data Quality Enhancement Program, CIHI strives to ensure that the quality of the information in our data holdings is suited to its intended uses, and that data users are provided good information about data quality.

The Data Quality Reporting Form should be completed by representatives from provinces and territories (for example, at ministries of health, health regions or individual hospitals) that submit data to the DAD, NACRS or HMDB data holdings to document known or suspected data quality issues (such as missing data, duplicate records or unexpected volume shifts). Data quality issues that affect national comparability or time-series analyses should be considered priorities. This form is not intended for general questions on the use of the data, abstracting or coding.


Data disclosure is determined by CIHI's privacy principles and policies. The Clinical Administrative Databases Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) (PDF) 1130 KB documents, evaluates and addresses the privacy impacts of the DAD, HMDB and NACRS program and systems. CIHI is committed to completing PIAs on all its data holdings.


CIHI now provides electronic reports to clients. All Core Plan Members can take advantage of CIHI’s electronic Discharge Abstract Database (eDAD) Reports and electronic Hospital Specific Reports (eHSR). eHSR reports are available on CIHI’s website at no cost to clients. (Note: After the posting period elapses, there is a charge to re-post reports.) Currently, there is no restriction on the number of users at a facility who may access these products, although CIHI reserves the right to put one in place in the future. Registration is required to access these products.


See what’s available for clients.

Licensed Vendors/Vendor Testing Status

DAD licensed vendors are those vendors that meet CIHI’s specifications and edits and have a signed license agreement with CIHI. Vendors must pass annual testing for license renewal. Vendor testing status by province and date is available.

Data Availability

DAD data is available for the following fiscal years:

  • Most recent year: 2010–2011
  • Next release: 2011–2012 (October 2012)
  • Historical series: 1979–1980 to 2009–2010

Bulletins/Newsletters/Announcements/Releases and Advisories

CIHI news and articles from the past 60 days are posted on the Bulletins and Tehnical News page. For earlier releases or advisories, consult our archives. Bulletins can be searched by topic and date.

Data Requests

CIHI’s Decision Support program area handles all custom data requests for the DAD, NACRS and HMDB. For information on custom data requests, refer to the Request Data web page.