Dataset Discharge Abstract Database (Hospital Separations file)

Discharge Abstract Database (Hospital Separations file) 
Data Provider (source):

BC Ministry of Health


Data on discharges, transfers and deaths of in-patients and day surgery patients from acute care hospitals in BC. All Canadian hospitals (except those in Quebec) submit their separations records directly to the Canadian Institute of Health information (CIHI) for inclusion in the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD). The database contains demographic, administrative and clinical data for hospital discharges (inpatient acute, chronic, rehabilitation) and day surgeries. A provincial data set, including various CIHI value-added elements (such as case mix groups, and resource intensity weights) is released on a monthly basis to the respective Ministries of Health. The DAD data files which Population Data BC receives include the CIHI variables. Population Data BC receives these data once per year.

To provide information on care received in acute care hospitals in BC 
Type of Data (select all that apply):
Health Care and Health Services 
Data Collection Method (select all that apply):
Individual Level Data, Administrative Data 
Identifiers used for linkage:
Personal Health Number, First Name, GivenName, Date of birth, Gender, Postal Code 
Access requiredments and conditions for Researchers and Projects:

Access Requirements and Conditions for the Researcher:

  • Details on the requirements for data access via PopData BC are available here:

Access Requirements and Conditions for the Research Project:

Access Process:

Population Data BC’s Data Access Unit: 
  • Discharges, transfers and deaths of in-patients and day surgery patients (e.g. those undergoing scope procedures, cataract procedures, or other procedures requiring operating room time) from acute care hospitals.
  • Data on BC residents who are admitted to a hospital in another province or territory are included in the DAD data. Also included in the data files are data on non-BC residents who are admitted to a BC hospital, however these data are usually excluded from extractions for research projects.
  • The data include some records indicating the level of care is "extended". For the most part, these records refer to people who are in long-term care facilities that are attached to an acute care facility and should be excluded from analyses.
  • Data on abortion procedures, including those conducted in concert with other procedures, are only available by special request. Requests must demonstrate how Therapeutic Abortion (TA) data is required to fulfill the research objectives by providing a strong rationale. The Ministry of Health will review requests and make a decision on release according to existing policy on a case-by-case basis. This is in accordance with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act article 22.1.
  • Visits to emergency rooms/departments are not recorded in the hospital files, though admissions to acute care via the emergency room are noted in the "entry code" field. The report by McKendry et al, 2002 provides more information on various methods for identifying emergency users.
  • Outpatient services like x-rays or blood work are not included in the hospital data.
Data is available from:
April 1, 1985 
More Information (including references):

Information on data changes over time, quality/accuracy/field coding source and other additional information is available on PopData’s website:

[2019-02-07 10:12] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring)