Back to:  Australia’s health 2020: snapshots

abnormal blood lipid levels: Abnormal levels of fats in the blood, such as cholesterol or triglycerides. Here it has been defined as total cholesterol ≥5.5 mmol/L, LDL cholesterol ≥3.5 mmol/L, HDL cholesterol <1.0 mmol/L in men or <1.3 mmol/L in women, triglycerides ≥2mmol/L, or use of lipid-modifying medication.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner: A person who has completed a Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice) and is registered with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia. The practitioner may undertake higher levels of clinical assessment and care within their agreed scope of practice.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health worker: An Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander with a minimum qualification in the field of primary health care work or clinical practice. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners who are one speciality stream of health worker. Health workers liaise with patients, clients and visitors to hospitals and health clinics, and work as a team member to arrange, coordinate and deliver health care in community health clinics.

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. See also Indigenous.

abstainer (alcohol): a person who has not consumed alcohol in the previous 12 months.

Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia: Classifies of the level of accessibility to goods and services (such as to general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) based on proximity to these services (measured by road distance).

acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS): A syndrome caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). If HIV is untreated, the body’s immune system is damaged and is unable to fight infections and cancer.

active travel: The process of being physically active to make a journey. Common forms of active travel are walking and cycling.

acute: A term used to describe something that comes on sharply and is often brief, intense and severe.

acute care: Care provided to patients admitted to hospital that is intended to cure illness, alleviate symptoms of illness or manage childbirth.

Acute coronary event: An umbrella term that is used to describe sudden and life threatening conditions that result in reduced blood flow to the heart. The term includes acute myocardial infarction (sometimes referred to as heart attack), unstable angina, and deaths due to acute coronary heart disease.

Acute myocardial infarction: Life-threatening emergency that occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked completely by a blood clot.

additional diagnosis: The diagnosis of a condition or recording of a complaint—either coexisting with the principal diagnosis or arising during the episode of admitted patient care (hospitalisation), episode of residential care or attendance at a health care establishment—that requires the provision of care. Multiple diagnoses may be recorded.

adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables: A balanced diet, including sufficient fruit and vegetables, reduces a person's risk of developing conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The National Health and Medical Research Council's 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend a minimum number of serves of fruit and vegetables each day, depending on a person's age and sex, to ensure good nutrition and health.

ADF personnel: Serving and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force; civilian personnel employed by the Department of Defence are excluded.

admission: An admission to hospital. In this report, the term hospitalisation is used to describe an episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process. The number of separations has been taken as the number of admissions; hence, the admission rate is the same as the separation rate.

admitted care: A specialised mental health service that provides overnight care in a psychiatric hospital or a specialised mental health unit in an acute hospital. Psychiatric hospitals and specialised mental health units in acute hospitals are establishments devoted primarily to the treatment and care of admitted patients with psychiatric, mental or behavioural disorders. These services are staffed by health professionals with specialist mental health qualifications or training and have as their principal function the treatment and care of patients affected by mental disorder/illness.

admitted patient: A patient who undergoes a hospital's formal admission process.

age structure: The relative number of people in each age group in a population.

age-specific rate: A rate for a specific age group. The numerator and denominator relate to the same age group.

age-standardisation: A way to remove the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. This is usually necessary because the rates of many diseases vary strongly (usually increasing) with age. The age structures of the different populations are converted to the same 'standard' structure, and then the disease rates that would have occurred with that structure are calculated and compared.

air pollutants: Pollutants that include ozone (O3), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10 or 2.5), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and biological allergens.

Alcohol-induced deaths: Deaths that can be directly attributable to alcohol use, as determined by toxicology and pathology reports.

allergic rhinitis: A bodily response triggered by an allergic reaction. The symptoms may include a runny or blocked nose and/or sneezing and watery eyes. Also known as ‘hay fever’.

allied health professional: A health professional who is not a doctor, nurse or dentist. Allied health professionals include (but are not limited to) chiropractors, occupational therapists, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists and speech pathologists.

Alzheimer’s disease: A degenerative brain disease caused by nerve cell death resulting in shrinkage of the brain. A common form of dementia.

ambulatory care: A specialised mental health service that provides services to people who are not currently admitted to a mental health admitted or residential service. Services are delivered by health professionals with specialist mental health qualifications or training. Ambulatory mental health services include:

  • community-based crisis assessment and treatment teams
  • day programs
  • mental health outpatient clinics provided by either hospital or community-based services
  • child and adolescent outpatient and community teams
  • social and living skills programs
  • psychogeriatric assessment services
  • hospital-based consultation-liaison and in-reach services to admitted patients in non-psychiatric and hospital emergency settings
  • ambulatory-equivalent same day separations
  • home based treatment services
  • hospital based outreach services.

anaemia: A condition in which the body lacks healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body’s tissues.

angina: Temporary chest pain or discomfort when the heart's own blood supply is inadequate to meet extra needs, as in exercise.

antenatal: The period covering conception up to the time of birth. Synonymous with prenatal.

antenatal care: A planned visit between a pregnant woman and a midwife or doctor to assess and improve the wellbeing of the mother and baby throughout pregnancy. It does not include visits where the sole purpose is to confirm the pregnancy. Also known as an antenatal visit.

anxiety disorders: A group of mental disorders marked by excessive feelings of apprehension, worry, nervousness and stress. Includes generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and various phobias.

apparent consumption of alcohol: Provides estimates of apparent consumption of alcohol based on availability of alcoholic beverages in Australia. It contains data on the quantity of pure alcohol available for consumption from beer, wine, spirits, ready to drink (pre-mixed) beverages and cider, plus estimates of the total volume of beer and wine available for consumption. Apparent consumption measures the amount of alcohol available for consumption (based on excise, import and sales data), but does not measure actual consumption as it does not account for factors such as waste or storage.

Apgar score: Numerical score used to indicate a baby’s condition at 1 minute and at 5 minutes after birth. Between 0 and 2 points are given for each of 5 characteristics: breathing, colour, heart rate, muscle tone and reflex irritability. The total score is between 0 and 10.

arthritis: A group of disorders for which there is inflammation of the joints—which can then become stiff, painful, swollen or deformed. The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Artificial intelligence: The simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems. These processes include learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions) and self-correction.

associated cause(s) of death: A cause(s) listed on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death, other than the underlying cause of death. They include the immediate cause, any intervening causes, and conditions that contributed to the death but were not related to the disease or condition causing death. See also cause(s) of death.

asthma: A common, chronic inflammatory disease of the air passages that presents as episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness due to widespread narrowing of the airways and obstruction of airflow.

asthma–COPD overlap: A condition where adults have features of both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

at risk of homelessness: Person who is at risk of losing their accommodation or are experiencing one or more factors or triggers that can contribute to homelessness. Risk factors include financial or housing affordability stress, inadequate or inappropriate dwelling conditions, previous accommodation ended, child abuse, family, sexual and domestic violence, and relationship or family breakdown.

atrial fibrillation: An uneven and fast heartbeat.

attributable burden: The amount of burden that could be reduced if exposure to the risk factor had been avoided.

Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC): Common framework defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for collecting and disseminating geographically classified statistics. The framework was implemented in 1984 and its final release was in 2011. It has been replaced by the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS).

Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Common framework defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for collecting and disseminating geographically classified statistics. It replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) in July 2011.

average length of stay: The average number of patient days for admitted patient episodes. Patients who have an admission and a separation on the same date are allocated a length of stay of 1 day.

avoidable burden: The reduction in future burden that would occur if current and/or future exposure to a particular risk factor were avoided. Compare with attributable burden.

avoidable deaths: See potentially avoidable deaths.

back pain and problems: A range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. Back problems are a substantial cause of disability and lost productivity.

binge drinking: The consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time.

birthweight: The first weight of the baby (stillborn or liveborn) obtained after birth (usually measured to the nearest 5 grams and obtained within 1 hour of birth).

blood cholesterol: Fatty substance produced by the liver and carried by the blood to supply the rest of the body. Its natural function is to supply material for cell walls and for steroid hormones, but if levels in the blood become too high this can lead to atherosclerosis (a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries) and heart disease.

blood pressure: The force exerted by the blood on the walls of the arteries as it is pumped around the body by the heart. It is written, for example, as 134/70 mmHg, where the upper number is the systolic pressure (the maximum force against the arteries as the heart muscle contracts to pump the blood out) and the lower number is the diastolic pressure (the minimum force against the arteries as the heart relaxes and fills again with blood). Levels of blood pressure can vary greatly from person to person and from moment to moment in the same person. See also high blood pressure/hypertension.

bodily pain: An indication of the severity of any bodily pain that the respondent had experienced (from any and all causes) during the last 4 weeks.

body mass index (BMI): The most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese (see obesity). It is calculated by dividing the person’s weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared—that is, kg ÷ m2. For both men and women, underweight is a BMI below 18.5, normal weight is from 18.5 to less than 25, overweight but not obese is from 25 to less than 30, and obese is 30 and over. Sometimes overweight and obese are combined—defined as a BMI of 25 and over.

bronchiectasis: An abnormal widening of the lungs’ air passages (bronchi). This allows infections to develop and leads to coughing with pus and sometimes blood. It has several causes, including cystic fibrosis; reduced immune functioning; and infections such as tuberculosis, whooping cough (pertussis) and measles.

bronchitis: Inflammation of the main air passages (bronchi). May be acute or chronic.

built environment: The built environment refers to the human-made surroundings where people live, work and recreate. It includes buildings and parks as well as supporting infrastructure such as transport, water and energy networks (Coleman 2017).

bulk-billing: The process where a medical practitioner or other health practitioner sends the bill for eligible services directly to Medicare, so the patient pays nothing. Also known as direct billing.

burden of disease: The quantifiable impact of a disease, injury or risk factor on a population, using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) measure.

burden of disease (and injury): The quantified impact of a disease or injury on a population, using the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) measure. Referred to as the ‘burden’ of the disease or injury in this report.

caesarean section: A method of birth in which a surgical incision is made into the mother’s uterus via the abdomen to directly remove the baby.

campylobacteriosis: A disease caused by Campylobacter bacteria. It is a one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis in Australia and is a notifiable disease.

cancer: A large range of diseases where some of the body’s cells become defective, begin to multiply out of control, invade and damage the area around them, and can then spread to other parts of the body to cause further damage.

cancer incidence: The number or rate of new cases of cancer diagnosed in a population during a given time period.

cancer of secondary site: A cancer that has metastasised (spread) from the place where it first started (primary site) to another part of the body (secondary site). If a secondary cancer is diagnosed but the practitioner is unsure of where it began, the cancer is referred to one of a secondary site or unknown primary cancer.

capital expenditure: Spending on large-scale fixed assets (for example, new buildings and equipment) with a useful life extending over several years.

cardiomyopathy: A condition where there is direct and widespread damage to the heart muscle, weakening it. It can be due to various causes, such as viral infections and severe alcohol abuse. It can lead to an enlarged, thickened and dilated heart as well as heart failure.

cardiovascular disease/condition: Any disease of the circulatory system, namely the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Includes angina, heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Also known as circulatory disease.

caries: Bacterial disease that causes the demineralisation and decay of teeth and can involve inflammation of the central dental pulp.

cause(s) of death: All diseases, morbid conditions or injuries that either resulted in or contributed to death—and the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced any such injuries—that are entered on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. Causes of death are commonly reported by the underlying cause of death. See also associated cause(s) of death and multiple causes of death.

cerebrovascular disease: Any disorder of the blood vessels supplying the brain or its covering membranes. A notable and major form of cerebrovascular disease is stroke.

cervical screening test (CST): Consists of an human papillomavirus (HPV) test with partial genotyping and, if the HPV test detects oncogenic HPV, liquid based cytology (LBC).

child: A person aged 0–14 unless otherwise stated.

chlamydia: The most common sexually transmissible infection in Australia, caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It is treatable and may not cause symptoms; however, it can lead to serious illness if untreated. It is a notifiable disease.

cholesterol: See blood cholesterol.

chronic: Persistent and long-lasting.

chronic conditions: A term describing a health condition that is persistent and long lasting.

chronic diseases/conditions: A diverse group of diseases/conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, which tend to be long lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases (infectious diseases), the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.

chronic kidney disease (CKD): Refers to all conditions of the kidney, lasting at least 3 months, where a person has had evidence of kidney damage and/or reduced kidney function, regardless of the specific cause.

chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Serious, progressive and disabling long-term lung disease where damage to the lungs (usually because of both emphysema and chronic bronchitis) obstructs oxygen intake and causes increasing shortness of breath. By far the greatest cause of COPD is cigarette smoking.

chronic sinusitis: The inflammation of the lining of one or more sinuses (large air cavities inside the face bones). It occurs when normal draining of the sinuses is obstructed by swelling, excessive mucus or an abnormality in the structure of the sinuses.

circulatory disease: Alternative name for cardiovascular disease.

clinical domain: A component of the health system delivering health care to an identifiable patient population.

clinical quality registry: A mechanism for monitoring the quality (appropriateness and effectiveness) of health care, within specific clinical domains, by routinely collecting, analysing and reporting health-related information.

clinical trials: These are controlled investigations on patients and non-patients conducted with the purpose of testing various hypotheses, such as the use of new and existing drugs, treatments or behavioural therapies, to test their safety and effectiveness.

closed treatment episode: A period of contact between a client and a treatment provider, or team of providers. An episode is closed when treatment is completed, there has been no further contact between the client and the treatment provider for 3 months, or when treatment is ceased.

colorectal (bowel) cancer: This disease comprises cancer of the colon, cancer of the rectosigmoid junction and cancer of the rectum (ICD-10 codes C18–C20).

communicable disease: See infectious disease.

community health services: Non-residential health services offered to patients/clients in an integrated and coordinated manner in a community setting, or the coordination of health services elsewhere in the community. Such services are provided by, or on behalf of, state and territory governments.

comorbidity: Defined in relation to an index disease/condition, comorbidity describes any additional disease that is experienced by a person while they have the index disease. The index and comorbid disease/condition will change depending on the focus of the study. Compare with multimorbidity.

condition (health condition): A broad term that can be applied to any health problem, including symptoms, diseases and various risk factors (such as high blood cholesterol, and obesity). Often used synonymously with disorder.

conductive hearing loss: A deviation of hearing threshold from the normal range associated with reduced conduction of sound through the outer ear, tympanic membrane (eardrum) or middle ear, including the ossicles (middle ear bones).

confidence interval: A range determined by variability in data, within which there is a specified (usually 95%) chance that the true value of a calculated parameter lies.

congenital: A condition that is recognised at birth, or is believed to have been present since birth, including conditions inherited or caused by environmental factors.

constant prices: Dollar amounts for different years that are adjusted to reflect the prices in a chosen reference year. This allows spending over time to be compared on an equal dollar-for-dollar basis without the distorting effects of inflation. The comparison will reflect only the changes in the amount of goods and services purchased—changes in the ‘buying power’—not the changes in prices of these goods and services caused by inflation.

co-payment (PBS RPBS): The costs incurred by an individual for payment of a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) medicine.

core activity: Term used in discussions of disability that refers to the basic activities of daily living: self-care, mobility and communication.

core activity limitation: A limitation where someone needs help with—or is having difficulty in using aids and equipment for—self-care, mobility and/or communication. See also disability, mild or moderate core activity limitation and severe or profound core activity limitation.

coronary heart disease: A disease due to blockages in the heart’s own (coronary) arteries, expressed as angina or a heart attack. Also known as ischaemic heart disease.

critical care: The specialised care of patients whose conditions are life-threatening and who require comprehensive care and constant monitoring, usually in intensive care units.

current prices: Expenditures reported for a particular year, unadjusted for inflation. Changes in current price expenditures reflect changes in both price and volume.

current smoker: Reported smoking daily, weekly or less than weekly at the time of the survey.

current use of e-cigarettes: reported smoking electronic cigarettes daily, weekly, monthly or less than monthly.

cytology: Cytology means ‘study of cells’ and, in the context of cervical screening, refers to cells from the cervix that are collected and examined for abnormalities.

daily smoker: reported smoking tobacco at least once a day (includes manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars or pipes). Excludes chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes (and similar) and smoking of non-tobacco products.

DALY: See disability-adjusted life year.

data linkage: The bringing together (linking) of information from two or more different data sources that are believed to relate to the same entity (for example, the same individual or the same institution). This linkage can yield more information about the entity and, in certain cases, provide a time sequence—helping to ‘tell a story’, show ‘pathways’ and perhaps unravel cause and effect. The term is used synonymously with ‘record linkage’ and ‘data integration’.

deep vein thrombosis (DVT): Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that forms in the veins of the leg. Complications include pulmonary embolism (PE), which can be fatal, phlebitis (inflammation) and leg ulcers.

Dementia: A term used to describe a group of similar conditions characterised by the gradual impairment of brain function. It is commonly associated with memory loss, but can affect speech, cognition (thought), behaviour and mobility. An individual’s personality may also change, and health and functional ability decline as the condition progresses.

deployment: Warlike or non-warlike service overseas by members assigned for duty with a United Nations mission or a similar force.

depression: A mood disorder with prolonged feelings of being sad, hopeless, low and inadequate, with a loss of interest or pleasure in activities and often with suicidal thoughts or self-blame.

depressive disorders: A group of mood disorders with prolonged feelings of being sad, hopeless, low and inadequate, with a loss of interest or pleasure in activities and often with suicidal thoughts or self-blame.

determinant: Any factor that can increase the chances of ill health (risk factors) or good health (protective factors) in a population or individual. By convention, services or other programs that aim to improve health are usually not included in this definition.

developmentally vulnerable: Children who scored in the lowest 10 per cent on one or more of the 5 domains of the Australian Early Development Census. The domains are physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognition skills, and communication skills and general knowledge.

diabetes (diabetes mellitus): A chronic condition where the body cannot properly use its main energy source—the sugar glucose. This is due to a relative or absolute deficiency in insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose enter the body’s cells from the bloodstream and be processed by them. Diabetes is marked by an abnormal build-up of glucose in the blood; it can have serious short- and long-term effects. For the three main types of diabetes, see type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

diagnostic imaging: The production of diagnostic images; for example, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, X-rays, ultrasound and nuclear medicine scans.

dialysis: An artificial method of removing waste substances from the blood and regulating levels of circulating chemicals—functions usually performed by the kidneys.

digital health: The electronic management of health information. This includes using technology to collect and share a person’s health information. It can be as simple as a person wearing a device to record how much exercise they do each day, to health care providers sharing clinical notes about an individual.

disability: An umbrella term for any or all of the following: an impairment of body structure or function, a limitation in activities, or a restriction in participation. Disability is a multidimensional concept and is considered as an interaction between health conditions and personal and environmental factors. See also core activity limitation, mild or moderate core activity limitation and severe or profound core activity limitation.

disability-adjusted life year (DALY): A year of healthy life lost, either through premature death or, equivalently, through living with ill health due to illness or injury. It is the basic unit used in burden of disease and injury estimates.

discharge (Australian Defence Force): Separation from the Australian Defence Force.

discretionary foods: Foods and drinks not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs, but which may add variety. Many are high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and/or alcohol, and are energy dense.

disease: A physical or mental disturbance involving symptoms (such as pain or feeling unwell), dysfunction or tissue damage, especially if these symptoms and signs form a recognisable clinical pattern.

disease vector: Living organisms that can transmit infectious diseases between humans or from animals to humans; these are frequently blood sucking insects such as mosquitoes.

disorder (health disorder): A term used synonymously with condition.

domestic violence: A set of violent behaviours between current or former intimate partners—typically, where one partner aims to exert power and control over another, usually through fear. Domestic violence can include physical violence, sexual violence, and emotional and psychological abuse.

drug-induced deaths: Drug-induced deaths are defined as those that can be directly attributable to drug use, as determined by toxicology and pathology reports. They are classified due to their intent—accidental, intentional (including assault and suicide), undetermined intent or other. Further, they include deaths from illicit drugs (for example, heroin, amphetamines and cocaine) and licit drugs (for example, benzodiazepines and anti-depressants). Deaths solely attributable to alcohol and tobacco are excluded.

drug-related hospitalisation: Hospital care with selected principal diagnoses of drug use disorder or harm (accidental, intended or self-inflicted) due to selected drugs.

drug-related separations: Hospital care with selected principal diagnoses of a substance misuse disorder or harm.

dwelling density: The number of dwellings divided by the area in hectares.

elective surgery: Elective care in which the procedures required by patients are listed in the surgical operations section of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, excluding specific procedures often done by non-surgical clinicians.

electronic cigarette (e-cigarette): devices designed to produce a vapour that the user inhales. Usually contain a battery, a liquid cartridge and a vaporisation system and are used in a manner that simulates smoking.

electronic health records: A longitudinal electronic record of patient health information generated by one or more encounters in any care delivery setting.

emotional maturity: A set of abilities that enable children to understand and manage how they respond when faced with situations that elicit an emotional reaction.

emphysema: A chronic lung disease where over-expansion or destruction of the lung tissue blocks oxygen intake, leading to shortness of breath and other problems.

end-stage kidney disease (ESKD): The most severe form of chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as Stage 5 CKD or kidney failure.

epilepsy: A common, long-term brain condition where a person has repeated seizures.

equivalised household income: Household income adjusted by the application of an equivalence scale to facilitate comparison of income levels between households of differing size and composition, reflecting that a larger household would normally need more income than a smaller household to achieve the same standard of living. Equivalised total household income is derived by calculating an equivalence factor according to the 'modified OECD' equivalence scale, and then dividing income by the factor.

estimated resident population (ERP): The official Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate of the Australian population. The ERP is derived from the 5-yearly Census counts and is updated quarterly between each Census. It is based on the usual residence of the person. Rates are calculated per 1,000 or 100,000 mid-year (30 June) ERP.

ex-serving (Australian Defence Force): Includes serving, reserve, and ex-serving members in the Australian Defence Force.

ex-smoker: A person who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes or equivalent tobacco in his or her lifetime, but does not smoke now.

extreme weather event: An unusual weather event or phenomenon at the extreme of a ‘typical’ historical distribution, such as a violent storm, exceptionally high levels of rainfall, or a heat wave or drought that is longer or hotter than normal.

family violence: Violence between family members as well as between current or former intimate partners. For example, family violence can include acts of violence between a parent and a child. ‘Family violence’ is the preferred term used to identify experiences of violence for Indigenous people as it encompasses the broad range of extended family and kinship relationships within which violence may occur.

fatal burden: Quantified impact on a population of premature death due to disease or injury. Measured as years of life lost (YLL).

fertility rate: Number of live births per 1,000 females aged 15–49.

fetal death (stillbirth): Death, before the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother, of a product of conception of 20 or more completed weeks of gestation, or of 400 g or more birthweight. Death is evidenced by the fact that, after such separation, the fetus does not breathe or show any other signs of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles.

filicide: A homicide where a parent (or step-parent) kills a child.

first trimester: The first 3-months of a pregnancy. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters: first trimester (conception to 13 weeks), second trimester (13 to 26 weeks) and third trimester (26 to 40 weeks).

forceps: Hand-held, hinged obstetric instrument applied to the fetal head to assist birth.

foreign body: An object which is left inside the human body which is not meant to be there, for example surgical instruments.

Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI):The McArthur Forest Fire Danger Index uses dryness (a product of rainfall and evaporation), wind speed, temperature and humidity to indicate the degree of danger of fire in Australian Forests.

full-time equivalent (FTE) workforce or workload: A standard measure of the size of a workforce that takes into account both the number of workers and the hours that each works. For example, if a workforce comprises 2 people working full time 38 hours a week and 2 working half time, this is the same as 3 working full time—that is, an FTE of 3.

gastrointestinal: A term relating to the stomach and the intestine.

gastrointestinal infection: An infection that occurs when a micro-organism or its toxic product affects the gastrointestinal tract (including the stomach and intestines) causing illness such as pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms. Can usually be passed from person to person.

general practitioner (GP): A medical practitioner who provides primary comprehensive and continuing care to patients and their families in the community.

general private health insurance cover: Private health insurance for non-hospital medical services that are not covered by Medicare, such as dental, optical, physiotherapy, other therapies and ambulance. Also known as ‘ancillary’ or ‘extras’ insurance.

gestational age: Duration of pregnancy in completed weeks, calculated either from the date of the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period to her baby’s date of birth, or via ultrasound, or from clinical assessment during pregnancy, or from examination of the baby after birth.

gestational diabetes: A form of diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy (gestation). It may disappear after pregnancy but signals a high risk of diabetes occurring later on in life. See also diabetes (diabetes mellitus).

glycylated haemoglobin: A form of haemoglobin that is chemically linked to sugar. The linkage between glucose and haemoglobin A1c indicates the presence of excessive sugar in the blood stream which can be used to diagnose and monitor diabetes.

gonorrhoea: A common sexually transmissible infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. It is treatable; however, if left untreated, it can lead to serious illness. It is a notifiable disease.

gout: A disease brought on by excess uric acid in the blood, causing attacks of joint pain (most often in the big toe) and other problems.

gross domestic product (GDP): A statistic commonly used to indicate national wealth. It is the total market value of goods and services produced within a given period after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production but before deducting allowances for the consumption of fixed capital.

haemorrhage (bleeding): The escape of blood from a ruptured blood vessel, externally or internally.

haemorrhagic stroke: A type of stroke caused by the rupture and subsequent bleeding of an artery in the brain or its surroundings.

HbA1c: See glycylated haemoglobin.

health: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

health and medical research: Research with a health socioeconomic objective, including the prevention of disease, maintenance of health and operation of the health system. It describes a wide range of research activities including laboratory research, public health, epidemiological studies, health services research, clinical research on patient samples as well as clinical trials. It can be conducted in a variety of settings, including tertiary institutions, private non-profit organisations, and government facilities, and is usually approved by a research governance or ethics body.

health indicator: See indicator.

Health Lens Analysis: A process used in Health in All Policies that outlines a series of steps used to apply to South Australian Strategic Plan targets by a range of government agencies.

health literacy: The ability of people to access, understand and apply information about health and the health care system so as to make decisions that relate to their health.

health outcome: A change in the health of an individual or population due wholly or partly to a preventive or clinical intervention.

health promotion: A broad term to describe activities that help communities and individuals increase control over their health behaviours. Health promotion focuses on addressing and preventing the root causes of ill health, rather than on treatment and cure.

health research: Research with a health socioeconomic objective, which is done in tertiary institutions, private non-profit organisations, and government facilities. It excludes commercially oriented research that private business funds, the costs of which are assumed to be included in the prices charged for the goods and services (for example, medications that have been developed and/or supported by research activities).

health status: The overall level of health of an individual or population, taking into account aspects such as life expectancy, level of disability, levels of disease risk factors and so on.

health-adjusted life expectancy: The average number of years that a person at a specific age can expect to live in full health; that is, taking into account years lived in less than full health due to the health consequences of disease and/or injury.

hearing: The sense for perceiving sounds; includes regions within the brain where the signals are received and interpreted.

hearing loss: Any hearing threshold response (using audiometry—the testing of a person’s ability to hear various sound frequencies) outside the normal range, to any sound stimuli, in either ear. Hearing loss in a population describes the number of people who have abnormal hearing. Hearing loss may affect one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral).

heart attack: Life-threatening emergency that occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked completely by a blood clot. The medical term commonly used for a heart attack is myocardial infarction. See also cardiovascular disease/condition.

heart failure: A condition that occurs when the heart functions less effectively in pumping blood around the body. It can result from a wide variety of diseases and conditions that can impair or overload the heart, such as heart attack, other conditions that damage the heart muscle directly (see cardiomyopathy), high blood pressure, or a damaged heart valve.

hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, which can be due to certain viral infections, alcohol excess or a range of other causes.

high blood cholesterol: Total cholesterol levels above 5.5 mmol/L.

high blood pressure/hypertension: Definitions can vary but a well-accepted definition is from the World Health Organization: a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, or if [the person is] receiving medication for high blood pressure. See also blood pressure.

highest educational attainment: Derived from information on the highest year of school completed and level of highest non-school qualification. It can be used as a proxy measure of socioeconomic position. Classified using the ABS Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED).

HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus

homelessness: There is no single definition of homelessness.

The Specialist Homelessness Services Collection defines a person as homeless if they are living in either:

  • non-conventional accommodation or sleeping rough (such as living on the street)
  • short-term or emergency accommodation due to a lack of other options (such as living temporarily with friends and relatives).

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines homelessness, for the purposes of the Census of Population and Housing, as the lack of one or more of the elements that represent home. According to the ABS, when a person does not have suitable accommodation alternatives they are considered homeless if their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable
  • does not allow them to have control of and access to space for social relations.

hospital-acquired complications: A complication for which clinical action may reduce (but not necessarily eliminate) the risk of its occurring—for example, selected infections or pressure injuries

hospital non-specialist: A subset of medical practitioners that includes doctors in training as interns and resident medical officers, career medical officers, hospital medical officers and other salaried hospital doctors who are not specialists or in recognised training programs to become specialists.

hospital private health insurance cover: Private insurance cover for the cost of in-hospital treatment by medical practitioners, and hospital costs such as accommodation and theatre fees.

hospital services: Services provided to a patient who is receiving admitted patient services or non-admitted patient services in a hospital.

hospitalisation: Synonymous with admission and separation; that is, an episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process. An episode of care can be completed by the patient’s being discharged, being transferred to another hospital or care facility, or dying, or by a portion of a hospital stay starting or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation).

household: A group of two or more related or unrelated people who usually live in the same dwelling, and who make common provision for food or other essentials for living; or a single person living in a dwelling who makes provision for his or her own food and other essentials for living, without combining with any other person.

housing adequacy: A measure to assess whether a dwelling is overcrowded. The number of bedrooms a dwelling should have to provide freedom from crowding is determined by the Canadian National Occupancy Standard. This standard assesses bedroom requirements based on the following criteria:

  • there should be no more than 2 people per bedroom
  • children aged under 5 of different sexes may reasonably share a bedroom
  • children aged 5 and over of opposite sex should have separate bedrooms
  • children aged under 18 and of the same sex may reasonably share a bedroom
  • single household members aged 18 and over should have a separate bedroom, as should parents or couples.

housing tenure: Describes whether a household rents or owns an occupied dwelling, or whether it is occupied under another arrangement.

human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): A virus that damages the immune system and makes it harder for a person to fight infection. There is no cure for HIV but there are treatments available to stop its progression.

Human papillomavirus (HPV): A virus, a virus that affects both males and females. There are around 100 types of HPV, with around 40 types known as ‘genital HPV’, which are contracted through sexual contact. Currently, 15 types of HPV are recognised as being associated with cervical cancer, the most common of which are types 16, 18, and 45. Persistent infection with oncogenic (cancer causing) HPV types can lead to cervical cancer, whereas infection with non-oncogenic types of HPV can cause genital warts.

hypertension: See high blood pressure/hypertension.

illicit drugs: Illegal drugs, drugs and volatile substances used illicitly, and pharmaceuticals used for non-medical purposes.

illness: A state of feeling unwell, although the term is also often used synonymously with disease.

imaging: See diagnostic imaging.

immunisation: A procedure designed to induce immunity against infection by using an antigen to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies. See also vaccination.

immunochemical faecal occult blood test (iFOBT): A test used to detect tiny traces of blood in a persons’ faeces that may be a sign of bowel cancer. The iFOBT is a central part of Australia’s National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.

impaired fasting blood glucose: Blood glucose levels between 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L, which is above normal but less than diabetes levels.

impaired glucose regulation: Condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but less than required for a diagnosis of diabetes, but which signal an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

impairment: Any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.

incidence: The number of new cases (of an illness or event, and so on) occurring during a given period. Compare with prevalence.

Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD): One of the set of Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas for ranking the average socioeconomic conditions of the population in an area. It summarises attributes of the population such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations.

Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD): 1 of 4 Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) compiled by the ABS. The IRSAD has been used in this report to indicate socioeconomic position for five groups (quintiles)—from the most disadvantaged (worst off or lowest socioeconomic area) to the most advantaged (best off or highest socioeconomic area).

indicator: A key statistical measure selected to help describe (indicate) a situation concisely so as to track change, progress and performance; and to act as a guide for decision making.

Indigenous: A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. See also Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

infant: A child aged under 1 year.

Infectious disease: Disease or illness caused by infectious organisms or their toxic products. The disease may be passed directly or indirectly to humans through contact with other humans, animals or other environments where the organism is found. Also referred to as an communicable disease.

inflammation: Local response to injury or infection, marked by local redness, heat, swelling and pain. Can also occur when there is no clear external cause and the body reacts against itself, as in auto-immune diseases.

influenza (flu): An acute contagious viral respiratory infection marked by fever, fatigue, cough, muscle aches, headache and sore throat.

injury cases: Estimated as the number of injury separations, less those records where the mode of admission was ‘Admitted patient transferred from another hospital’. These transfers are omitted to reduce over-counting.

instrumental delivery: Vaginal delivery using forceps or vacuum extraction. See also instrumental birth.

instrumental birth: Vaginal birth using forceps or vacuum extraction. See also instrumental delivery.

insulin: Hormone produced by the pancreas which regulates the body’s energy sources, most notably the sugar glucose. It is an injectable agent that helps lower blood glucose levels by moving glucose into cells to be used as energy.

intentional self-harm: Includes attempts to suicide, as well as cases where people have intentionally hurt themselves, but not necessarily with the intention of suicide (e.g. acts of self-mutilation).

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): The United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The World Health Organization's internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The 10th revision (ICD-10) is currently in use. The Australian modification of the ICD-10 (ICD-10-AM) is used for diagnoses and procedures recorded for patients admitted to hospitals.

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD): The World Health Organization’s internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The Tenth Revision (ICD-10) is currently in use. The ICD-10-AM is the Australian Modification of the ICD-10; it is used for diagnoses and procedures recorded for patients admitted to hospitals.

interoperability: The ability of different information systems, devices and applications (‘systems’) to access, exchange, integrate and cooperatively use data in a coordinated manner.

intervention (for health): Any action taken by society or an individual that ‘steps in’ (intervenes) to improve health, such as medical treatment and preventive campaigns.

intimate partner violence: A set of violent behaviours between current or former intimate partners. See also domestic violence.

ischaemia: Reduced or blocked blood supply. See also ischaemic heart disease.

ischaemic heart disease: See heart attack and angina. Also known as coronary heart disease. See also ischaemia.

Ischaemic stroke: A type of stroke due to a reduced or blocked supply of blood in the brain. Also known as cerebral infarction.

juvenile arthritis: Inflammatory arthritis in children that begins before their 16th birthday and lasts at least 6 weeks. Also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Kessler Psychological Distress Scale—10 items (Kessler-10; K10): A survey device that is used to measure non-specific psychological distress in people. It uses 10 questions about negative emotional states that participants in the survey may have had in the 4 weeks leading up to their interview. The designers recommend using only for people aged 18 and over.

kidney replacement therapy: Having a functional kidney transplant or receiving regular dialysis.

kidney transplant: A procedure whereby a healthy kidney is taken from one person and surgically placed into someone with end-stage kidney disease. The kidney can come from a live or deceased donor.

labour force: People who are employed or unemployed (not employed but actively looking for work). Also known as the workforce.

life expectancy: An indication of how long a person can expect to live, depending on the age they have already reached. Technically, it is the number of years of life left to a person at a particular age if death rates do not change. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth.

lifetime risk (alcohol): The accumulated risk from drinking either on many drinking occasions, or on a regular (for example, daily) basis over a lifetime. The lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury increases with the amount consumed. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than 2 standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury

linked disease: A disease or condition on the causal pathway of the risk factor, and therefore more likely to develop if exposed to the risk.

lipids: Fatty substances, including cholesterol and triglycerides, that are in blood and body tissues.

live birth (live born): The complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy, which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life (such as the beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles), whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached; each product of such birth is considered live born (WHO definition).

Local Health Network: Corporations within defined geographical regions, which have responsibility for managing public hospitals and health institutions in that region, in accordance with the National Health Reform Agreement.

long-term condition: A term used in the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Surveys to describe a health condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 6 months. See also chronic diseases/conditions.

low birthweight: Weight of a baby at birth that is less than 2,500 grams.

low income household: A household with an equivalised disposable household income (that is, after-tax income, adjusted for the number of people in the household) that is less than 50% of the national median.

major burns: Burns of any depth that involve more than 20 percent of the total body surface for an adult or more than 10 percent of the total body surface for a child.

malignant: A tumour with the capacity to spread to surrounding tissue or to other sites in the body.

mammogram: An X-ray of the breast. It may be used to assess a breast lump or as a screening test in women with no evidence of cancer.

mandate: An official order.

margin of error: The largest possible difference (due to sampling error) that could exist between the estimate and what would have been produced had all persons been included in the survey, at a given level of confidence (commonly 95%). It is useful for understanding and comparing the accuracy of proportion estimates. Equivalent to the width of a confidence interval.

maternal age: Mother’s age in completed years at the birth of her baby.

maternity: A mother’s period close to and including childbirth.

measles: A highly contagious infection, usually of children, that causes flu-like symptoms, fever, a typical rash and sometimes serious secondary problems such as brain damage. It is preventable by vaccination.

median: The midpoint of a list of observations that have been ranked from the smallest to the largest.

median age: The age point at which half the population is older than that age and half is younger than that age.

medical specialist: A doctor who has completed advanced education and clinical training in a specific area of medicine.

Medicare: A national, government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of personal medical services for all Australians and aims to help them afford medical care. The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is the listing of the Medicare services subsidised by the Australian Government. The schedule is part of the wider Medicare Benefits Scheme (Medicare).

Medicare levy: A 2% tax on taxable income charged to fund Medicare. The Medicare levy is reduced if taxable income is below a certain threshold.

Medicare levy surcharge: A levy paid by Australian taxpayers who do not have private hospital cover and who earn above a certain income.

medications: Benefit-paid pharmaceuticals and other medications.

melanoma: A cancer of the body’s cells that contain pigment (melanin), mainly affecting the skin. Survival rates are very high for those whose melanoma is detected and removed early, but low if not.

mental illness: Disturbances of mood or thought that can affect behaviour and distress the person or those around them, so that the person has trouble functioning normally.

mental illness (or mental disorders): Disturbances of mood or thought that can affect behaviour and distress the person or those around them, so that the person has trouble functioning normally. They include anxiety disorders, depression and schizophrenia.

mesothelioma: An aggressive form of cancer occurring in the mesothelium—the protective lining of the body cavities and internal organs, such as the lungs, heart and bowel.

metadata: Information about how data are defined, structured and represented. It makes data files meaningful by describing the information captured in data, and how it is measured and represented.

metformin: A medication that lowers blood glucose levels by reducing the amount of stored glucose released by the liver, slowing the absorption of glucose from the intestine, and helping the body to become more sensitive to insulin so that it works better.

midwife: A person, typically a woman, who is trained to help women in childbirth.

mild or moderate core activity limitation: The limitation of a person who needs no help but has difficulty with core activities (moderate) or has no difficulty (mild) with core activities, but uses aids or equipment, or has one or more of the following restrictions:

  • cannot easily walk 200 metres
  • cannot walk up and down stairs without a handrail
  • cannot easily bend down to pick up an object from the floor
  • cannot use public transport
  • can use public transport but needs help or supervision
  • needs no help or supervision but has difficulty using public transport.

mobile health: The delivery of health care services via mobile communication devices.

moderate physical activity: Physical activity at a level that causes the heart to beat faster, accompanied by some shortness of breath, but during which a person can still talk comfortably.

monitoring (of health): A process of keeping a regular and close watch over important aspects of the public’s health and health services through various measurements, and then regularly reporting on the situation, so that the health system and society more generally can plan and respond accordingly. The term is often used interchangeably with surveillance, although surveillance may imply more urgent watching and reporting, such as the surveillance of infectious diseases and their epidemics. Monitoring can also be applied to individuals, such as hospital care where a person’s condition is closely assessed over time.

mood (affective) disorders: A set of psychiatric disorders, also called mood disorders. The main types of affective disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder. Symptoms vary by individual and can range from mild to severe.

morbidity: The ill health of an individual and levels of ill health in a population or group.

mortality: Number or rate of deaths in a population during a given time period.

multimorbidity: The presence of two or more chronic diseases/conditions in a person at the same time. Compare with comorbidity.

multiple causes of death: All the causes listed on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death. These include the underlying cause of death and all associated cause(s) of death. See also cause(s) of death.

musculoskeletal: A term that relates to the muscles, joints and bones.

musculoskeletal conditions: Disorders that affect the bones, muscles and joints, such as back pain and problems, juvenile arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteopenia, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

My Health Record: An online platform for storing a person’s health information, including their Medicare claims history, hospital discharge information, diagnostic imaging reports, and details of allergies and medications.

natural environment: A setting that includes all vegetation and animal species (including micro-organisms), habitats and landscapes on earth, but excludes aspects of the environment that result from human activities. The natural environment includes air, water and climate.

neonatal death: Death of a liveborn baby within 28 days of birth.

neonatal mortality rate: Number of neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births.

neurology: A branch of medicine concerned especially with the structure, function and diseases of the nervous system.

never smoker: A person who does not smoke now and has smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes or the equivalent tobacco in his or her lifetime.

non-admitted patient: A patient who receives care from a recognised non-admitted patient service/clinic of a hospital, including emergency departments and outpatient clinics.

non-fatal burden: The quantified impact on a population of ill health due to disease or injury. Measured as years lived with disability (YLD), which is also sometimes referred to as years of healthy life lost due to disability.

non-hospital medical services: Medical services delivered to patients who are not admitted patients.

non-Indigenous: People who have declared that they are not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. Compare with Other Australians.

non-medical use: The use of drugs either alone or with other drugs to induce or enhance a drug experience for performance enhancement or cosmetic purposes (this includes pain-killers/analgesics, tranquillisers/sleeping pills, steroids and meth/amphetamines and other opioids such as morphine or pethidine).

non-school qualification: An educational qualification other than that of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. Non-school qualifications comprise a Bachelor degree; a Master degree; a Doctorate; a Diploma; a Graduate Diploma; an Advanced Diploma; a Certificate I, II, III and IV (trade certificates); and a Graduate Certificate.

non-smoker: never smoked or an ex-smoker.

notifiable disease: A group of communicable diseases that are reported to state and territory health departments, as required by legislation. The information enables public health responses and the monitoring of disease activity.

nutrition: The intake of food, considered in relation to the body’s dietary needs.

obesity: Marked degree of overweight, defined for population studies as body mass index of 30 or over, calculated from the patient’s height and weight.

obstetrics: The branch of medicine and surgery concerned with childbirth and midwifery.

obstetric trauma: Refers to the tearing of perineum during vaginal delivery of a child. These tears can extend to the perineal muscles and bowel wall, resulting in major surgery. These types of tears are not possible to prevent in all cases, but can be reduced by employing appropriate labour management and high quality obstetric care. Hence, the proportion of deliveries involving higher degree lacerations is a useful indicator of the quality of obstetric care. 

occupational disease (work-related disease): Employment or work-related diseases which are the result of repeated or long-term exposure to agent(s) or event(s) where there was a long latency period.

occupational exposures and hazards: Chemical, biological, psychosocial, physical and other factors in the workplace that can potentially cause harm.

occupational injury (work-related injury): Employment or work-related injuries which are the result of a traumatic event occurring where there was a short or no latency period. It includes injuries which are the result of a single exposure to an agent causing an acute toxic effect.

occupational lung diseases: Diseases that result from breathing in harmful dusts or fumes, such as silica, asbestos and coal dust. This exposure typically occurs in the workplace. Pneumoconiosis, or scarring of the lung tissue caused by inhaled dust, is one of the most common forms of occupational lung disease.

opiate/opioid substitution treatment (OST): The provision to opioid drug users of a prescription medicine that replaces their drug of choice (for example, heroin) and helps them to manage their addiction. This medicine is usually supplied in a clinically supervised setting. OST is also called opioid replacement therapy or maintenance therapy. The three medicines most commonly used as OST in Australia are methadone, buprenorphine and buprenorphine-naloxone.

opioid: A chemical substance that has a morphine-type action in the body. Opioids are most commonly used for pain relief, but they are addictive and can lead to drug dependence.

opioid pharmacotherapy treatment: Opioid pharmacotherapy treatment is one of the main treatment types used for opioid drug dependence and involves replacing the opioid drug of dependence with a legally obtained, longer-lasting opioid that is taken orally.

opioid substitution therapy (OST): The provision to opioid drug users of a prescription medicine that replaces their drug of choice (for example, heroin) and helps them to manage their addiction. This medicine is usually supplied in a clinically supervised setting. OST is also called opioid replacement therapy or maintenance therapy. The three medicines most commonly used as OST in Australia are methadone, buprenorphine and buprenorphine-naloxone.

optometry: The practice of primary eye care, including testing for visual acuity and prescribing treatments for eye disorders.

oral health: The health of the mouth, tongue and oral cavity; the absence of active disease in the mouth.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): An organisation of 36 countries, including Australia, that are mostly developed and some emerging (such as Mexico, Chile and Turkey). The organisation’s aim is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world.

osteoarthritis: A chronic and common form of arthritis, affecting mostly the spine, hips, knees and hands. It first appears from the age of about 30 and is more common and severe with increasing age.

osteopenia: A condition when bone mineral density is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.

osteoporosis: A condition that causes bones to become thin, weak and fragile, such that even a minor bump or accident can break a bone.

Other Australians: People who have declared that they are not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, and people whose Indigenous status is unknown. Compare with non-Indigenous.

other diabetes: A name for less common diabetes resulting from a range of different health conditions or circumstances.

other health practitioner services: Services that health practitioners (other than doctors and dentists) provide. These other practitioners include, but are not limited to, audiologists, chiropractors, dieticians, homeopaths, naturopaths, occupational therapists, optometrists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, practice nurses, practitioners of Chinese medicine and other forms of traditional medicine, and speech therapists.

other medications: Pharmaceuticals for which no Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) benefit was paid. They include:

  • pharmaceuticals listed in the PBS or RPBS, the total costs of which are equal to, or less than, the statutory patient contribution for the class of patient (under co-payment pharmaceuticals)
  • pharmaceuticals dispensed through private prescriptions that do not fulfil the criteria for payment of benefit under the PBS or RPBS
  • over-the-counter medications, including pharmacy-only medications, aspirin, cough and cold medicines, vitamins and minerals, herbal and other complementary medications, and various medical non-durables, such as condoms, adhesive and non-adhesive bandages.

otitis media: All forms of inflammation and infection of the middle ear. Active inflammation or infection is nearly always associated with a middle ear effusion (fluid in the middle ear space).

outcome (health outcome): A health-related change due to a preventive or clinical intervention or service. (The intervention may be single or multiple, and the outcome may relate to a person, group or population, or be partly or wholly due to the intervention.)

out-of-pocket costs/expenditure: The total costs incurred by individuals for health care services over and above any refunds from Medicare and private health insurance funds.

out-of-pocket costs/spending: The total costs incurred by individuals for health care services over and above any refunds from Medicare and private health insurance funds.

overnight hospitalisation: An admitted patient who received hospital treatment for a minimum of 1 night (that is, admitted to, and has a separation from, hospital on different dates).

over-the-counter medicines: Medicine that one can buy without a prescription from a pharmacy or retail outlet.

overweight: Defined for the purpose of population studies as a body mass index of 25 or over. See also obesity.

overweight but not obese: Defined for the purpose of population studies as a body mass index between 25 and less than 30.

palliative care: Treatment given primarily to control pain or other symptoms. Consequent benefits of the treatment are considered secondary contributions to quality of life.

Pap test: See Papanicolaou smear (Pap smear).

Papanicolaou smear (Pap smear): A procedure to detect cancer and precancerous conditions of the female genital tract, which is the screening test of the National Cervical Screening Program. During a Pap test, cells are collected from the transformation zone of the cervix—the area of the cervix where the squamous cells from the outer opening of the cervix and glandular cells from the endocervical canal meet. This is the site where most cervical abnormalities and cancers are detected. For conventional cytology, these cells are transferred onto a slide, and sent to a pathology laboratory for assessment. Collected cells are then examined under a microscope to look for abnormalities.

parricide: A homicide where a child kills a parent or step-parent.

pathology: A general term for the study of disease, but often used more specifically to describe diagnostic services that examine specimens, such as samples of blood or tissue.

patient days: The number of full or partial days of stay for patients who were admitted to hospital for an episode of care and who underwent separation during the reporting period. A patient who is admitted and separated on the same day is allocated 1 patient day.

patient transport services: The services of organisations primarily engaged in transporting patients by ground or air—along with health (or medical) care. These services are often provided for a medical emergency, but are not restricted to emergencies. The vehicles are equipped with lifesaving equipment operated by medically trained personnel.

patient-centred care: An approach to health care which places the patient at the centre of the care model, with an emphasis on collaboration between the patient and health-care providers when making decisions about their health and treatment approaches.

Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs): Used to obtain patients’ views and observations on aspects of health care services they have received. This includes their views on the accessibility and physical environment of services (for example, waiting times and the cleanliness of consultation rooms and waiting spaces) and aspects of the patient–clinician interaction (such as whether the clinician explained procedures clearly or responded to questions in a way that they could understand).

Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs): Used to obtain information from patients on their health status, usually using standardised and validated questionnaires. They measure aspects such as overall health and wellbeing (or ‘health-related quality of life’), the severity of symptoms such as pain, measures of daily functioning (activities required for self-care and to support social interactions) and psychological symptoms.

peer worker: A person employed (or engaged via contract), either part time or full time, on the basis of their lived experience, to support others experiencing a similar situation.

perinatal: Describes something that pertains to, or that occurred in, the period shortly before or after birth (usually up to 28 days after).

perinatal death: A fetal or neonatal death of at least 20 weeks gestation or at least 400 grams birthweight.

peripheral vascular disease: A disease characterised by pain in the extremities, often the legs, due to an inadequate blood supply to them.

personal stressors: Events or conditions that occur in a person's life that may adversely impact on the individual's or their family's health or wellbeing.

pertussis: A highly infectious bacterial disease of the air passages marked by explosive fits of coughing and often a whooping sound on breathing in. It is preventable by vaccination. Also known as whooping cough.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): A national, government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of a wide range of pharmaceutical drugs for all Australians to help them afford standard medications. The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits (schedule) lists all the medicinal products available under the PBS and explains the uses for which they can be subsidised.

pharmacotherapy: The treatment of disease and illnesses using pharmaceutical drugs.

physical therapy: The treatment or management of physical disability, malfunction, or pain using therapeutic exercises, physical modalities such as massage and hydrotherapy, assistive devices, and patient education and training. Often referred to as physiotherapy.

physical activity: Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines (2014) recommend that:

  • Young people (13-17 years) accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday, from a variety of activities including some vigorous.
  • Adults (18-64 years) should be active most days of the week, accumulate 150 to 300 minutes moderate intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity (or an equivalent combination each week), and do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
  • Older Australians (65 years and over) should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

PM2.5: Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres (0.0025millimetres).

pneumonia: Inflammation of the lungs as a response to infection by bacteria or viruses. The air sacs become flooded with fluid, and inflammatory cells and affected areas of the lung become solid. Pneumonia is often quite rapid in onset and marked by a high fever, headache, cough, chest pain and shortness of breath.

population health: Typically, the organised response by society to protect and promote health, and to prevent illness, injury and disability. Population health activities generally focus on:

  • prevention, promotion and protection rather than on treatment
  • populations rather than on individuals
  • the factors and behaviours that cause illness.

It can also refer to the health of particular subpopulations, and comparisons of the health of different populations.

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): The development of a set of reactions in people who have experienced a traumatic event that might have threatened their life or safety, or others around them. Examples of traumatic events can include war or torture, serious accidents, physical or sexual assault, or disasters. A person who has PTSD can experience feelings of helplessness, horror or intense fear.

potentially avoidable deaths: Deaths among people younger than age 75 that are avoidable in the context of the present health care system. They include deaths from conditions that are potentially preventable through individualised care and/or treatable through existing primary or hospital care. They are a subset of premature deaths. The rate of potentially avoidable deaths in Australia is used as an indicator of the health system’s effectiveness. Potentially avoidable deaths are classified using nationally agreed definitions. (A revised definition was adopted in the National Healthcare Agreement 2015 leading to differences in the counts and rates of potentially avoidable deaths published previously.)

potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs): Hospital separations for a specified range of conditions where hospitalisation is considered to be largely preventable if timely and adequate care had been provided through population health services, primary care and outpatient services. The PPH conditions are classified as vaccine preventable, chronic and acute. Respective examples include influenza and pneumonia, diabetes complications and COPD, and dental and kidney conditions. The rate of PPHs is currently being used as an indicator of the effectiveness of a large part of the health system, other than hospital inpatient treatment.

practising doctors: Medically qualified physicians who provide services to patients. Does not include students who have not graduated, unemployed or retired doctors, those working outside the country, dentists, stomatologists, dental or maxillofacial surgeons.

practising nurses: Professional nurses enrolled to practice in a particular country. Excludes those who are students, those who are unemployed retired or no longer practicing, and midwives unless they work most of the time as nurses.

pre-eclampsia: A condition that complicates pregnancy and is characterised by high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in the urine. The placental function may be compromised.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): An anti-retroviral treatment taken daily to prevent HIV infection in people who do not have HIV but are at medium or high risk of being infected. 

premature deaths (or premature mortality): Deaths that occur at a younger age than a selected cut-off. The age below which deaths are considered premature can vary depending on the purpose of the analysis and the population under investigation. In this report, deaths among people aged under 75 are considered premature.

prescription pharmaceuticals: Pharmaceutical drugs available only on the prescription of a registered medical or dental practitioner and available only from pharmacies.

pre-term birth: Birth before 37 completed weeks of gestation.

prevalence: The number or proportion (of cases, instances, and so forth) in a population at a given time. For example, in relation to cancer, refers to the number of people alive who had been diagnosed with cancer in a prescribed period (usually 1, 5, 10 or 26 years). Compare with incidence.

prevention (of ill health or injury): Action to reduce or eliminate the onset, causes, complications or recurrence of ill health or injury.

primary health care: These are services delivered in many community settings, such as general practices, community health centres, Aboriginal health services and allied health practices (for example, physiotherapy, dietetic and chiropractic practices) and come under numerous funding arrangements.

Primary Health Network: Primary Health Networks were established on 1 July 2015. These networks are intended to play a critical role in connecting health services across local communities so that patients, particularly those needing coordinated care, have the best access to a range of health care providers, including practitioners, community health services and hospitals. Primary Health Networks work directly with general practitioners, other primary care providers, secondary care providers and hospitals.

principal diagnosis: The diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning an episode of patient care (hospitalisation), an episode of residential care or an attendance at the health care establishment. Diagnoses are recorded using the relevant edition of the International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM).

principal drug of concern: The main substance that led the client to seek treatment from an alcohol and drug treatment agency.

prisoner: An adult aged 18 and over held in custody, whose confinement is the responsibility of a corrective services agency. Prisoners includes sentenced prisoners, and prisoners held in custody awaiting trial or sentencing (remandees). Juvenile offenders, people in psychiatric custody, police cell detainees, people held in immigration detention centres, or Australians held in overseas prisons, are not included. Prison entrants refer to those who are entering the prison. Prison dischargees are those who are in the process of being released from prison.

private hospital: A privately owned and operated institution, catering for patients who are treated by a doctor of their own choice. Patients are charged fees for accommodation and other services provided by the hospital and by relevant medical and allied health practitioners. The term includes acute care and psychiatric hospitals as well as private free-standing day hospital facilities.

private patient: A person admitted to a private hospital, or a person admitted to a public hospital who decides to choose the doctor(s) who will treat them or to have private ward accommodation—this means they will be charged for medical services, food and accommodation.

procedure: A clinical intervention that is surgical in nature, carries a procedural risk, carries an anaesthetic risk, and requires specialist training and/or special facilities or equipment available only in the acute-care setting.

protective factors: Factors that enhance the likelihood of positive outcomes and lessen the chance of negative consequences from exposure to risk.

psychological distress: Unpleasant feelings or emotions that affect a person’s level of functioning and interfere with the activities of daily living. This distress can result in having negative views of the environment, others and oneself, and manifest as symptoms of mental illness, including anxiety and depression (see also Kessler Psychological Distress Scale—10 items).

psychosocial: Involving both psychological and social factors.

psychotic disorders: ‘A diverse group of illnesses that have their origins in abnormal brain function and are characterised by fundamental distortions of thinking, perception and emotional response’ (Slade et al. 2009).

public health: Activities aimed at benefiting a population, with an emphasis on prevention, protection and health promotion as distinct from treatment tailored to individuals with symptoms. Examples include the conduct of anti-smoking education campaigns, and screening for diseases such as cancer of the breast and cervix. See also population health.

public hospital: A hospital controlled by a state or territory health authority. In Australia, public hospitals offer free diagnostic services, treatment, care and accommodation to all eligible patients.

public hospital services expenditure: Services provided by public hospitals from the balance of public hospital expenditure remaining after costs of community health services, public health services, non-admitted dental services, patient transport services, and health research activities conducted by public hospitals have been removed and reallocated to their own expenditure categories.

public patients: Patients who are admitted to hospital at no charge and are mostly funded through public sector health or hospital service budgets.

pulmonary embolism (PE): A blockage in the arteries that supply blood to the lungs caused by one or more blood clots. A blood clot can form in the veins of the legs, pelvis, abdomen (tummy) or in the heart. The clot can then dislodge from where it first forms and travel in the blood stream to lodge in one of the pulmonary arteries, the arteries that send blood to the lungs.

quality: The degree to which health services for individuals and populations increase the likelihood of desired health outcomes, and are consistent with current professional knowledge.

quintile: A group derived by ranking the population or area according to specified criteria and dividing it into five equal parts. The term can also mean the cut-points that make these divisions—that is, the 20th, 40th, 60th and 80th percentiles—but the first use is the more common one. Commonly used to describe socioeconomic areas based on socioeconomic position.

rate: A rate is one number (the numerator) divided by another number (the denominator). The numerator is commonly the number of events in a specified time. The denominator is the population ‘at risk’ of the event. Rates (crude, age-specific and age-standardised) are generally multiplied by a number such as 100,000 to create whole numbers.

recent user (alcohol and other drugs): Someone who has used in the last 12 months.

recurrent expenditure: Spending (expenditure) on goods and services that are used during the year (for example, salaries). Compare with capital expenditure.

recurrent spending: Spending on health goods and services that are consumed within a year, and that does not result in the creation or acquisition of fixed assets.

referred medical services: Non-hospital medical services that are not classified as primary health care. See also unreferred medical service.

refugee: A person who is subject to persecution in their home country and in need of resettlement. The majority of individuals considered to be a refugee are identified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and referred by the UNHCR to Australia.

relative income poverty: A situation where a family’s income is low compared with that of other families. It is assessed by the proportion of households with an equivalised income that is less than 50% of the national median equivalised household income.

relative risk: This measure is derived by comparing two groups for their likelihood of an event. It is also called the risk ratio because it is the ratio of the risk in the ‘exposed’ population divided by the risk in the ‘unexposed’ population. It is also known as the rate ratio.

relative survival (cancer): A measure of the average survival experience of a population of people diagnosed with cancer, relative to the ‘average’ Australian of the same sex and age, at a specified interval after diagnosis.

remoteness areas: These regions are defined by the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) and based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia which uses the road distance to goods and services (such as general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) to measure relative accessibility of regions around Australia.

remoteness classification: Each state and territory is divided into several regions based on their relative accessibility to goods and services (such as to general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) as measured by road distance. These regions are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia and defined as Remoteness Areas by either the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (before 2011) or the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) (from 2011 onwards) in each Census year. The five Remoteness Areas are Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote and Very remote. See also rural.

renal disease: A general term for when the kidneys are damaged and do not function as they should.

Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS): An Australian government scheme that provides a range of pharmaceuticals and wound dressings at a concessional rate for the treatment of eligible veterans, war widows/widowers, and their dependants.

respiratory condition: A chronic respiratory condition affecting the airways and characterised by symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough. Conditions include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

restraint: The restriction of an individual's freedom of movement by physical or mechanical means.

restraint (mechanical): The application of devices (including belts, harnesses, manacles, sheets and straps) on a person's body to restrict his or her movement. This is to prevent the person from harming himself/herself or endangering others or to ensure the provision of essential medical treatment. It does not include the use of furniture (including beds with cot sides and chairs with tables fitted on their arms) that restricts the person's capacity to get off the furniture except where the devices are used solely for the purpose of restraining a person's freedom of movement. The use of a medical or surgical appliance for the proper treatment of physical disorder or injury is not considered mechanical restraint.

restraint (physical): The application by health care staff of ‘hands-on’ immobilisation or the physical restriction of a person to prevent the person from harming himself/herself or endangering others or to ensure the provision of essential medical treatment.

resuscitation of baby: Active measures taken shortly after birth to assist the baby’s ventilation and heartbeat, or to treat depressed respiratory effort and to correct metabolic disturbances.

rheumatoid arthritis: A chronic, multisystem disease whose most prominent feature is joint inflammation and resulting damage, most often affecting the hand joints in symmetrical fashion.

risk: The probability of an event’s occurring during a specified period of time.

risk factor: Any factor that represents a greater risk of a health disorder or other unwanted condition or event. Some risk factors are regarded as causes of disease; others are not necessarily so. Along with their opposites (protective factors), risk factors are known as determinants.

rural: Geographic areas outside urban areas such as towns and cities. In this report, rural and remote encompasses all areas outside Australia’s major cities according to the remoteness classification of the Australian Statistical Geographic Standard. In many instances, the term ‘rural and remote’ is used interchangeably with the classification terms ‘regional and remote’.

safety: The avoidance or reduction to acceptable limits of actual or potential harm from health care management or the environment in which health care is delivered.

safety and quality standards: A set of statements which describe the level of care consumers can expect from a health service. They aim to protect the public from harm and improve the quality of care provided.

same-day hospitalisation: A patient who is admitted to, and has a separation from, hospital on the same date.

screen time: Activities done in front of a screen, such as watching television, working on a computer, or playing video games.

screening (for health): A systematic method of detecting risk factors or suspicious abnormalities among people who are symptom free, so that health problems can be either prevented or followed up, diagnosed and treated as early as possible. Screening is usually done through special programs aimed at higher risk groups in the population. A variant of screening, often known as case-finding, is where clinicians opportunistically look for risk factors or abnormalities in people when seeing them for other reasons; for example, when many doctors routinely measure blood pressure in all patients consulting them.

seclusion: The confinement of the consumer at any time of the day or night alone in a room or area from which free exit is prevented.

self-assessed health status: Self-assessed health status is a commonly used measure of overall health which reflects a person's perception of his or her own health at a given point in time.

self-regulated: Where a health professionals accreditation process is managed by the professional association for that profession, rather than under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) for health practitioners.

separation (from hospital): The formal process where a hospital records the completion of an episode of treatment and/or care for an admitted patient—in this report, described by the term hospitalisation.

service (Australian Defence Force): The three broad arms of the Australian Defence Force—the Navy, Army and Air Force.

severe or profound core activity limitation: The limitation of a person who needs help or supervision always (profound) or sometimes (severe) to perform activities that most people undertake at least daily—that is, the core activities of self-care, mobility and/or communication. See also core activity limitation and disability.

sexual violence: The occurrence, attempt or threat of sexual assault experienced by a person since the age of 15. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by partners in a domestic relationship, former partners, other people known to the victims, or strangers.

sexually transmissible infection: An infectious disease that can be passed from one person to another by sexual contact. Examples include chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections.

siblicide: A homicide where one sibling kills another sibling.

single-occasion risk (alcohol): A single-occasion risk, in the context of alcohol, is defined as the risk of alcohol-related injury arising from having a sequence of drinks without the blood alcohol concentration reaching zero in between them. The risk of an alcohol-related injury arising from a single occasion of drinking increases with the amount consumed. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion reduces the risk of alcohol-related injury from that occasion.

skeletal muscles: The most common type of muscle in the body, skeletal muscles are attached to bones by tendons, produce the movement of all body parts in relation to each other and can be voluntarily controlled.

smartphone: A mobile phone built on a mobile operating system, with more advanced computing capability and connectivity.

smartwatch: A mobile device, consisting of a package that includes a computer and display, attached to a bracelet.

smoker: Someone who reports smoking daily, weekly or less than weekly.

smoker status: Smoker status refers to the frequency of smoking of tobacco, including manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll–your–own cigarettes, cigars and pipes, but excluding chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes (and similar) and smoking of non–tobacco products.

Respondents to the National Health Survey were asked to describe smoking status at the time of interview, categorised as:

  • daily smoker: a respondent who reported at the time of interview that they regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day;
  • ex–smoker: a respondent who reported that they did not currently smoke, but had regularly smoked daily, or had smoked at least 100 cigarettes, or smoked pipes, cigars, etc. at least 20 times in their lifetime; and
  • never smoked: a respondent who reported they had never regularly smoked daily, and had smoked less than 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and had smoked pipes, cigars, etc. less than 20 times.

The 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey uses the following smoking definitions:

  • current smoker: reported smoking daily, weekly or less than weekly at the time of the survey.
  • daily smoker: reported smoking tobacco at least once a day (includes manufactured (packet) cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars or pipes). Excludes chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes (and similar) and smoking of non-tobacco products.
  • ex-smoker: a person who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes or equivalent tobacco in his or her lifetime, but does not smoke at all now.
  • never smoker: a person who does not smoke now and has smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes or the equivalent tobacco in his or her lifetime.
  • non-smoker: never smoked or an ex-smoker.

social capital: The institutions, relationships, voluntary activity, and communications that shape the quality and quantity of social interaction within a community.

social competence: A set of abilities that enable children to independently navigate their social world, to interact with peers and adults, to form friendships, and to understand the needs of others.

social determinants of health: The circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies and politics.

social exclusion: A situation where people do not have the resources, opportunities and capabilities they need to learn, work, engage with or have a voice in their communities. Composite measures of social exclusion weight indicators such as income level, access to education, unemployment, poor English, health services and transport, and non-material aspects such as stigma and denial of rights. These measures are typically divided into three levels: marginal exclusion, deep exclusion and very deep exclusion.

socioeconomic areas: Based on the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage, part of the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) created from Census data, which aims to represent the socioeconomic position of Australian communities and reflect the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population in an area. 

Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA): A set of indexes, created from Census data, that aim to represent the socioeconomic position of Australian communities and identify areas of advantage and disadvantage. The index value reflects the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population of an area; it does not show how individuals living in the same area differ from each other in their socioeconomic group. This report uses the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage.

socioeconomic position: An indication of how ‘well off’ a person or group is. In this report, socioeconomic position is mostly reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas. Two indices have been used—The Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD) and the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD). In this report, the IRSD has been used to report socioeconomic position for five groups (quintiles)—from the most disadvantaged (worst off or lowest socioeconomic area) to the least disadvantaged (best off or highest socioeconomic area). The IRSAD has been used to report socioeconomic position for five groups (quintiles)—from the most disadvantaged (worst off or lowest socioeconomic area) to the most advantaged (best off or highest socioeconomic area).

solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation: High-energy rays from the sun which are invisible to the human eye. UV radiation is divided into three types according to wavelength (UVA, UVB and UVC). UVA, and to a lesser extent UVB, are not wholly absorbed by atmospheric ozone and therefore are of interest for human health.

specialist attendance: A specialist attendance usually required a referral from a general practitioner. A specialist attendance is a referred patient-doctor encounter (with Medicare funding benefits), such as a visit, consultation and attendance (including a video conference) with a medical practitioner who has been recognised as a specialist or consultant physician for the purposes of Medicare benefits.

specialist homelessness services: Assistance provided by a specialist homelessness agency to a client aimed at responding to or preventing homelessness. Includes accommodation provision, assistance to sustain housing, domestic/family violence services, mental health services, family/relationship assistance, disability services, drug/alcohol counselling, legal/financial services, immigration/cultural services, other specialist services and general assistance and support.

specialist services: Services that support people with specific or complex health conditions and issues, who are generally referred by primary health care providers. They are often described as ‘secondary’ health care services. In many cases, a formal referral is required for an individual to be able to access the recommended specialist service.

stage: The extent of a cancer in the body. Staging is usually based on the size of the tumour, whether lymph nodes contain cancer, and whether the cancer has spread from the original site to other parts of the body.

standard drink (alcohol): A serve that contains 10 grams of alcohol (equivalent to 12.5 millilitres of alcohol). It is also referred to as a full serve.

Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB): An infection of the bloodstream. When associated with health care procedures, these infections are considered to be potentially preventable.

statistical significance: A statistical measure indicating how likely the observed difference or association is due to chance alone. Rate differences are deemed to be statistically significant when their confidence intervals do not overlap, since their difference is greater than what could be explained by chance.

stillbirth: See fetal death (stillbirth).

stroke: An event that occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain suddenly becomes blocked or bleeds. A stroke often causes paralysis of parts of the body normally controlled by that area of the brain, or speech problems and other symptoms. It is a major form of cerebrovascular disease.

substance misuse: Use of illicit drugs (illegal drugs, drugs and volatile substances used illicitly, and pharmaceuticals used for non-medical purposes).

substance use disorder: A disorder of harmful use and/or dependence on illicit or licit drugs, including alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs.

suicidal ideation: Serious thoughts about ending one’s own life.

suicidality: The collective term for suicidal ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts.

suicide: An action to deliberately end one’s own life.

syphilis (infectious): A sexually transmitted infection, which if untreated can cause irreversible damage. It is caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria. It is a notifiable disease.

telehealth: Health services delivered using information and communication technologies, such as videoconferencing.

telemedicine: The remote delivery of health care services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the telecommunications infrastructure.

thunderstorm asthma: Is the triggering of an asthma attack by environmental conditions directly caused by a local thunderstorm.

total burden: The sum of fatal burden (YLL) and non-fatal burden (YLD).

trachoma: An infectious disease of the eye caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. If left untreated, follicles form on the upper eyelids and grow larger until the granulations invade the cornea, eventually causing blindness.

trauma: A severe and often life-threatening injury that suddenly develops when the entire body or a part of it has been hit by a blunt object or due to sudden impact.

treatment episode: The period of contact between a client and a treatment provider or a team of providers. In the context of alcohol and other drug treatment, each treatment episode has 1 principal drug of concern and 1 main treatment type. If the principal drug or main treatment changes, a new episode is recorded.

treatment type: In the context of alcohol and other drug treatment, the type of activity that is used to treat the client’s alcohol or other drug problem. Examples include assessment only, counselling, information and education only, pharmacotherapy, rehabilitation, support and case management only, and withdrawal management (detoxification).

triage category: A category used in the emergency departments of hospitals to indicate the urgency of a patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Patients are triaged into 1 of 5 categories on the Australasian Triage Scale. The triage category is allocated by an experienced registered nurse or medical practitioner.

triglyceride: A compound made up of a single molecule of glycerol and three molecules of fatty acid. Triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils.

tumour: An abnormal growth of tissue. Can be benign (not a cancer) or malignant (a cancer).

type 1 diabetes: A form of diabetes mostly arising among children or younger adults and marked by a complete lack of insulin. Insulin replacement is needed for survival. See diabetes (diabetes mellitus).

type 2 diabetes: The most common form of diabetes, occurring mostly in people aged 40 and over, and marked by reduced or less effective insulin. See diabetes (diabetes mellitus).

underlying cause of death: The disease or injury that initiated the train of events leading directly to death, or the circumstances of the accident or violence that produced the fatal injury. See also cause(s) of death and associated cause(s) of death.

underweight: A category defined for population studies as a body mass index less than 18.5.

unreferred medical service: A medical service provided to a person by, or under the supervision of, a medical practitioner—being a service that has not been referred to that practitioner by another medical practitioner or person with referring rights. In this report, these are medical services that are classified as primary health care (see referred medical services).

Urban Heat Islands: Urban areas that are significantly warmer than surrounding rural or natural areas due to human activities and land uses.

vaccination: The process of administering a vaccine to a person to produce immunity against infection. See also immunisation.

vacuum extraction: A procedure to assist birth using traction or rotation on a suction cap applied to the baby’s head.

vector-borne disease: A disease, parasite or infection transmitted from one host to another by a vector. The largest group of vectors are insects and other arthropods, most commonly mosquitoes, ticks, flies, lice and fleas. The abundance and distribution of vector populations (and hence the spread of vector-borne diseases) is closely intertwined with environmental conditions that encourage their survival.

vigorous physical activity: Physical activity at a level that causes the heart to beat a lot faster and shortness of breath that makes talking difficult between deep breaths.

walkability: A measure of how conducive an area is for walking.

wellbeing: A state of health, happiness and contentment. It can also be described as judging life positively and feeling good. For public health purposes, physical wellbeing (for example, feeling very healthy and full of energy) is also viewed as critical to overall wellbeing. Because wellbeing is subjective, it is typically measured with self-reports, but objective indicators (such as household income, unemployment levels and neighbourhood crime) can also be used.

whooping cough: See pertussis.

workforce: People who are employed or unemployed (not employed but actively looking for work). Also known as the labour force.

years lived with disability (YLD): A measure calculated as the prevalence of a condition, multiplied by a disability weight for that condition. YLD represent non-fatal burden.

years of life lost (YLL): For each new case, years of life lost equals the number of years between premature death and the standard life expectancy for the individual. YLL represent fatal burden.

years of potential life lost (YPLL): Years of life lost due to premature death, which is assumed to be any death between the ages of 1–78 inclusive. YPLL represent fatal burden.