Dataset Discharge Abstract Database

Discharge Abstract Database 
Data Provider (source):

Canadian Institute for Health Information


Originally developed in 1963, the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) captures administrative, clinical and demographic information on hospital discharges (including deaths, sign-outs and transfers). Some provinces and territories also use the DAD to capture day surgery. Data extracted from the DAD is used to populate other CIHI databases, including the Hospital Morbidity Database (HMDB) and the Hospital Mental Health Database (HMHDB).

Data is received 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.

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

  • 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 completing an Access Data Inquiry Form.

Phone: 1-613-241-5543 Email: 

Contains demographic, administrative and clinical data on all separations (with the exception of stillbirths and cadaveric donors) from acute inpatient facilities in all provinces and territories except Quebec. Also includes demographic, administrative and clinical data on all patient separations from day surgery facilities in some provinces and territories.

Inclusion of C-HOBIC data set: The Canadian Health Outcomes for Better Information and Care (C-HOBIC) data set is focused on collecting standardized evidence-based clinical outcome data in acute and non-acute settings for inclusion in electronic health records (EHRs) in Canada. Incorporating this data set into 2 special project fields of the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) provides standardized patient-centred clinical outcomes data from acute care to support the collection and analysis of clinical outcomes, health system use and performance reporting. Learn more about C-HOBIC.

Further information: A list of the DAD data elements in the most recent calendar year can be found online. One the scope of the data, further information is available here: Data Availability and Jurisdictional Coverage of CIHI Data Holdings



Data is available from:
More Information (including references):

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. Since 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. ICD-10-CA and CCI Documents:

Further information on DAD can be found on CIHI’s website.  

[2019-01-08 13:43] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring) [2019-01-10 09:37] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring) [2019-03-13 10:20] Sarah Kesselring: Edited by Sarah Kesselring (skesselring)