IHM data is unique because it emanates from community hospitals, a population often underrepresented in clinical studies. The IHM data system incorporates the contents of the clinical information system used daily in hospitals, reaching well beyond claims data, and includes thousands of data elements per patient, such as lab results, drugs given (and when/where given), radiology reports, and electronic nursing and physician notes. IHM collects both both administrative and clinical data on thousands of patients daily from a network of more than 100 community hospitals across 30 states.
The wide variety of institutions in the IHM database makes it ideal for studying the influence of institutional characteristics on practice patterns. The distributions of race and age of inpatient discharges are similar to those of the general U.S. population. The IHM data includes all socio-economic groups and individuals with special health care needs, including individuals with disabilities and those who need chronic care or end-of-life health care. No priority populations are excluded.