Dataset Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB)

Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB) 
Data Provider (source):

Canadian Institute for Health Information


The Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB) is a national data holding that captures administrative, clinical and demographic information on inpatient separations from acute care hospitals. The HMDB also contains Quebec day surgery data as of 2012–2013.

Discharge data is received from acute care facilities across Canada and day surgery facilities in Quebec.  The majority of records in the HMDB are from the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD). The DAD receives data directly from acute care facilities or from their respective health/regional authority or ministry/department of health. Facilities in all provinces and territories except Quebec are required to report. Data from Quebec is submitted to CIHI directly by the Ministère de la Santé et des Services Sociaux du Québec. This data is appended to the DAD to create the HMDB. Please note that Quebec day surgery records are part of the HMDB population as of 2012–2013.  The Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB) was launched in 1994–1995.

Find out more about acute inpatient care, including reports and analyses based on HMDB data.

To deliver comparable and actionable information to accelerate improvements in health care, health system performance and population health across the continuum of care 
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, Date of birth 
Access requiredments and conditions for Researchers and Projects:

Data Access Conditions:

  • In addition to the CIHI data access condition below, requests for Quebec data are subject to review and authorization from the Quebec Privacy Commission (Commission d’accès à l’information du Québec) and the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS).
  • CIHI discloses health information and analyses on Canada’s health system and the health of Canadians in a manner consistent with its mandate and core functions. These disclosures typically fall into one of four categories:
    • Disclosures to parties with responsibility for the planning and management of the health care system to enable them to fulfill those functions;
    • Disclosures to parties with a decision-making role regarding health care system policy to facilitate their work;
    • Disclosures to parties with responsibility for population health research and/or analysis; and
    • Disclosures to third-party data requesters to facilitate health or health services research and/or analysis.
  • Prior to disclosure, CIHI reviews the requests to ensure that the disclosures are consistent with the above and meet the requirements of applicable legislation.
  • CIHI data disclosures are made at the highest degree of anonymity possible while still meeting the research and/or analytical purposes. This means that, whenever possible, data are aggregated.
  • Where aggregate data are not sufficiently detailed for the research and/or analytical purposes, data that have been de-identified using various de-identification processes may be disclosed to the recipient on a case-by-case basis and where the recipient has entered into a data protection agreement or other legally binding instrument with CIHI.
  • Only those data elements necessary to meet the identified research or analytical purposes may be disclosed.
  • For more information, please reference CIHI’s Privacy Policy:

Requirements for record-level data access:

  • Prior to disclosure, the recipient must sign a data protection agreement or other legally binding instrument that, at a minimum, contains the following requirements:
    • Prohibits re-identifying or contacting the individuals;
    • Prohibits linking the de-identified data unless expressly authorized in writing by CIHI;
    • Limits the purposes for which the de-identified data may be used;
    • Requires that the de-identified data be safeguarded;
    • Limits publication or disclosure to data that do not allow identification of any individual;
    • Requires the destruction of data, as specified;
    • Permits CIHI to conduct on-site privacy audits pursuant to its privacy audit program; and
    • Requires the recipient to comply with any other provision that CIHI deems necessary to further safeguard the data.
  • Prior to the disclosure of de-identified data for research purposes, the requester will provide CIHI with evidence of Research Ethics Board approval.
  • CIHI reserves the right to impose any other requirement(s) as needed on a case-by-case basis in order to maintain the confidentiality of de-identified data.
  • Prior to disclosure, program areas will evaluate the de-identified data to assess and subsequently minimize privacy risks of re-identification and residual disclosure, and to implement the necessary mitigating measures to manage residual risks.
  • CIHI will not disclose de-identified data if it is reasonably foreseeable in the circumstances that it could be utilized, either alone or with other information, to identify an individual and that, where it is reasonably foreseeable that it could be used to identify an individual, the information will be treated as personal health information.

Access process:  All data access requests can be initiated at the following CIHI webpage:, and complete an Access Data Inquiry Form.

Phone: 1-613-241-5543 Email: 

The HMDB captures national administrative, clinical and demographic information on hospital inpatient events. As of 2012–2013, Quebec day surgery information is included in the HMDB. For hospital inpatient discharges, the HMDB contains:

  • Administrative data elements (such as admission and discharge dates)
  • Clinical data elements (such as most responsible diagnosis)
  • Demographic data elements (such as patient age)

Discharge data on psychiatric facilities, day procedures (such as day surgery in all provinces and territories except Quebec) and emergency department visits is not captured in this database.

Data is available from:
1994 (Quebec day surgery data included as of 2012–2013) 
More Information (including references):

For HMDB data sourced from the DAD, the following applies:

  • As early as 2001–2002, some provinces and territories began using ICD-10-CA and CCI to code diagnoses and interventions in hospital separations reported to the DAD.
  • As of 2004–2005, all DAD records have been reported in ICD-10-CA and CCI; prior to that, ICD-9, CCP and ICD-9-CM were used.
  • As of 2006–2007, Quebec began using ICD-10-CA and CCI to code diagnoses and interventions; prior to that, Quebec data was coded using ICD-9, CCP and ICD-9-CM.

ICD-10-CA and CCI Documents

Further information on the HMDB is available on CIHI’s website.  

[2019-02-11 09:37] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring)