The Center for Studying Health System Change

HomeAbout HSCPublicationsNews RoomConferencesLinksLinks

Sign up for HSC Alerts!

Policy Research
Insurance Coverage and Costs
Access to Care
Quality and Care Delivery
Health Care Markets

Issue Briefs
Data Bulletins
Research Briefs
Tracking Reports
Journal Articles
Other Publications

CTS Data
CTS Surveys
CTS Site Visits
Data Files
Design and Methods

Sign up for HSC Alerts
News Media


Using the CTS Data Files


Design and Methods


Household Survey


Followback Survey


Physician Survey


Employer Survey


Status of CTS


Grant Opportunities for Researchers


Section Map


HSC has a commitment to making its survey data available in a timely manner and accessible format. Data from the Community Tracking Study (CTS) surveys are made available to the public through the Health and Medical Care Archive (HMCA) at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). Data files from the following surveys are currently available:

Publicly Available CTS Data Files

Survey ICPSR/HMCA Study Number
1996-97 Household Survey and Followback Survey 2524
1996-97 Physician Survey 2597
1997 Employer Survey 2935
1998-99 Household Survey and Followback Survey 3199
1998-99 Physician Survey 3267
2000-01 Household Survey 3764
2000-01 Physician Survey 3820
2003 Household Survey 4216
2004-05 Physician Survey 4584

Note: The 1996-97, 1998-99 and 2000-01 surveys were formerly referred to as Rounds One, Two and Three, respectively. The surveys are now identified by year instead of "round" because the schedules for each of the various CTS data collection began to diverge in 2002.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the documentation for the data files? All the user's guides and codebooks are available through HMCA, listed under the relevant study number. Those documents are also available through this web site as HSC Technical Publications, except for the Employer Survey, for which the documentation was produced by RAND and is available only through ICPSR.

Is there technical support available? For technical assistance using the CTS data files (except the Employer Survey), e-mail our help desk at CTS Help is not able to provide assistance for the Employer Survey because RAND (not HSC) produced the data file.

What's the difference between the public use and restricted use versions of the data files? The public use and restricted use files differ in the amount of information that they contain, as well as the ease with which they can be obtained and used. The public use versions contain less information but are easily accessible in that they can be downloaded directly from the ICPSR Web site. The purpose of excluding some information from the public use files is to protect the confidentiality of our survey participants. The restricted use versions contain more information, but in order to obtain and use the restricted use files, researchers must apply for access to the data and agree to the strict terms and conditions contained in the data use agreement. Information about the application process and data use agreement are available from ICPSR. Users can consult the relevant user's guide to determine whether the public use version of the file contains enough information to fulfill their analytic needs.

What research has been published from the CTS public use and restricted use data files? While there are many publications by HSC researchers that rely on the CTS survey data, there are also many researchers from other organizations who have been taking advantage of the public use and restricted use data files. Click here for a list of the journal articles that they have written. If you have a published paper based on the CTS data that is not included on the list, please let us know by sending an e-mail to

Back to Top
Simple Search

Site Last Updated: 4/21/2008           Privacy Policy
Center for Studying Health System Change
600 Maryland Ave, SW #550
Washington, DC 20024
tel: 202.484.5261
fax: 202.484.9258