European hospital morbidity database (HMDB)

Updated: January 2015

HMDB contains data on hospital discharge by detailed diagnosis, age and sex, which have been submitted by countries in the WHO European Region to the WHO Regional Office for Europe. It is a unique tool for the analysis and international comparison of morbidity and hospital activity patterns in countries. The main diagnosis, or reason for the hospital admission, is coded using one of three following disease coding systems:

  • ICD-10 (the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, tenth revision);
  • ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases, ninth revision); and
  • ISHMT (International Shortlist for Hospital Morbidity Tabulation).

The data are as provided by countries, and may contain some coding errors or be affected by specific national practices in applying ICD codes for certain reasons for hospitalization. Users should keep this possibility in mind when interpreting differences in hospitalization rates between countries.

Health professionals who have sufficient knowledge of ICD and hospital activities are the main intended HMDB users.

HMDB is available in two versions: online, which allows immediate access to the data via the Internet; and offline, which requires downloading and installation on a personal computer (PC).

Individuals or organizations may use HMDB information freely, but not for commercial purposes.

Suggested citation

European hospital morbidity database. Copenhagen, WHO Regional Office for Europe, [year].


In no event shall WHO or its collaborating centres be responsible for any incidental or consequential damages or losses caused by the use of HMDB.