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The NHMD is compiled from data supplied by the state and territory health authorities. It is a collection of electronic confidentialised summary records for separations (that is, episodes of care) in public and private hospitals in Australia. Data are held for the years 1993-94 to 2009–10

Some of the information available in the NHMD is presented through hospitals data cubes. They contain information for:

  • Principal Diagnosis, 1993-94 to 2009–10
  • Diagnosis Related Group, 1997-98 to 2009–10
  • Procedure, 2000-01 to 2009–10

The National health data dictionary definitions form the basis of the database, ensuring a high standard of data comparability.

Diagnoses, procedures and external causes of injury are recorded using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and related Health Problems, Tenth revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM). For further information on the version used for each collection year see the ICD Coded Data Fact Sheet (96KB DOC).

Almost all hospitals in Australia are included in the database: public acute and public psychiatric hospitals, private acute and psychiatric hospitals, and private free standing day hospital facilities. The total number of records for 2009–10 was 8.5 million.

Example of data sourced from the NHMD

The following hospital separations figure was taken from Australian hospital statistics 2009–10, Chapter 7, Figure 1, page 138.

In 2009–10:

  • there were about 574,000 separations for people aged 0 to 14 years
  • these separations do not include newborns that did not require acute care, they accounted for an additional 218,000 records.
  • the number of separations for people aged 0 to 14 years increased by 25.7% over the period 2005–06 to 2009–10, an average annual increase of 1.6%
  • 57.4% of these separations were for males
  • 79.2% of these separations were in public hospitals
  • the most common principal diagnosis was Chronic diseases of tonsils and adenoids, followed by Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight.

Figure 7.1: Data reported for separations for persons aged 0–14 years, all hospitals, 2009–10  

Abbreviations: AR-DRG-Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Group; ALOS-average length of stay; CC-complication or comorbidity; Cat- Catastrophic; Sev- Severe; W-with;

  1. Separations for which the care type was reported as Newborn with no qualified days, and records for Hospital boarders and Posthumous organ procurement have been excluded.

For more examples of NHMD data, please see chapters 3, 7, 8, 9, and 11 of Australian hospital statistics 2009–10.