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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 and/or Torres Strait Islander household: Household that contains one or more people identified as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people: People who have identified themselves, or have been identified by a representative (for example, their parent or guardian), as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. See also First Nations people.

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (ACCHO): A health organisation controlled by, and accountable to, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in those areas in which the organisation operates. An individual ACCHO aims to deliver holistic, comprehensive, and culturally appropriate health care to the community that controls it.

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

Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia: Classification 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 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.

adaptation to (climate change): Adjusting behaviours and adapting our infrastructure to deal with current and future climate change (IPCC 2022b).

additional diagnosis: Conditions or complaints, 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 require 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 (ABS 2022).

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. Within the relevant topic summaries, 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 (mental health): 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.

adult prison: A place administered and operated by a justice department, where individuals are detained while under the supervision of the relevant justice department on a pre-sentence or sentenced detention episode.

Aeroallergen: An airborne substance that can cause an allergic reaction. Examples include pollen, fungal spores or dust mites.

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

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

age-standardisation: Method to remove the influence of age when comparing rates between population groups with different age structures. This is used as the rate of many diseases vary strongly (usually increasing) with age, and so too can service use, for example, hospitalisations – a population group with an older age structure will likely have more hospitalisations. The age structures of different populations are converted to the same ‘standard’ structure, and then the relevant rates, such as hospitalisations, that would have occurred within that structure are calculated and compared.

age-standardised rates: are incidence, or prevalence rates that enable comparisons to be made between populations that have different age structures. The age structures of the different populations are converted to the same 'standard' structure, and then the rates that would have occurred with that structure are calculated and compared. Rates can be expressed in many ways, examples, per 100,000 per population years, per 100,000 population and per 1,000 population.

age structure: Relative number and percentage of people in each age group in a population.

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: A range of services provided by university qualified health practitioners with specialised expertise in preventing, diagnosing and treating a range of conditions and illnesses. The practitioners have autonomy of practice, a defined scope of practice, a regulatory mechanism and a national organisation with clearly defined entrance criteria. Examples include psychologists, optometrists and physiotherapists.

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

Alzheimer’s disease: A degenerative brain disease caused by nerve cell death resulting in shrinkage of the brain. A 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;
  • same day separations;
  • home based treatment services; and
  • 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.

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

apparent consumption of alcohol: The total amount of alcohol made available for consumption in Australia each year. Apparent consumption does not measure the drinking habits of individuals.

arthritis: A group of disorders for which there is inflammation of the joints – which can then become stiff, painful, swollen or deformed. The 3 most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

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: All causes 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 which contributed to the death but were not related to the disease or condition causing the death. See also cause 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.

Attendance at person’s place of residence: A professional attendance in the patient’s home, residential aged care facility (other than consulting rooms within a residential aged care facility), or other institution by a specialist, or consultant physician, in the speciality of palliative medicine following referral by a referring practitioner.

attendances: Face-to-face or telehealth consultations with practitioners who are authorised to provide services that attract Medicare benefits.

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

Australian Defence Force personnel: See ADF personnel.

Australian population: For these topic summaries is the estimated resident population, the official measure of Australia’s population based on the concept of usual residence. It refers to all people, regardless of nationality or citizenship, who usually live in Australia, except foreign diplomatic personnel and their families. It includes usual residents who are overseas for less than 12 months. It excludes overseas visitors who are in Australia for less than 12 months (see ‘overseas migration’ definition below) (ABS, 2023).

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.

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.


baby length of stay: Number of days between date of birth and date of separation from the hospital of birth (calculated by subtracting the date of birth from the date of separation).

back problems: A range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. These conditions can affect the neck (cervical spine), upper back (thoracic spine) and lower back (lumbar spine) as well as the sacrum and tailbone (coccyx). Back problems are a substantial cause of disability and lost productivity.

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 (build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels) 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.

blue spaces: Are outdoor bodies of water that are either naturally occurring or manmade such as rivers, lakes, beaches and bays.

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): An internationally recognised standard for classifying overweight and obesity in adults. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in metres.

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 person assigns his or her entitlement to a Medicare benefit to the treating practitioner and the practitioner cannot charge a copayment, so there is no out-of-pocket cost to the person. Also known as direct billing.

buprenorphine opioid drug formulations: Come in various forms, such as buprenorphine (Subutex®), which acts in a similar way to methadone but is longer lasting and may be taken daily or every second or third day. Buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone®) is a combination of buprenorphine-naloxone product and is a sublingual tablet or film, and buprenorphine long-acting injection (LAI) is injected into the tissue under the skin either weekly or monthly.

burden of disease (and injury): The quantified impact of a disease or injury on a population, using the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) measure. 1 DALY is equivalent to 1 healthy year of life lost.


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 (malignant neoplasm): Cancer, also called malignancy, is a term for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and can invade nearby tissues. Cancer cells can also spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems.

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 that affects the circulatory system, including the heart and blood vessels. Examples include coronary heart disease, heart failure, rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, congenital heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease.

carer: Carer refers to people who provide any informal assistance (help or supervision) to people with disability or older people. In the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) for an individual to be considered a carer, the assistance they provide must be ongoing, or likely to be ongoing, for at least 6 months. People who provide formal assistance (on a regular paid basis, usually associated with an organisation) are not considered to be a carer for the purpose of this report. In the ABS SDAC, a carer is either a ‘primary carer’ or an ‘other carer’.

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

cataract: A cloudy area in the lens of the eye that leads to a decrease in vision.

cause of death: The causes of death entered on the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death are 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. Causes of death are commonly reported by the underlying cause of death. See also associated cause 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 a 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 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, the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.

chronic kidney disease: Refers to abnormalities of kidney structure or function, that are present for 3 months or more. It may be caused by several conditions – such as diabetes, high blood pressure or congenital conditions.

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 bronchitisobstructs oxygen intake and causes increasing shortness of breath. By far the greatest cause 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 diseaseAlternative 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, when treatment is ceased or there is a change in the main treatment type, principal drug of concern or delivery setting.

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).

commercial determinants of health: Commercial determinants of health are the activities undertaken by commercial organisations that affect people’s health, directly or indirectly, positively or negatively. 

communicable disease: An infectious disease or illness that may be passed directly or indirectly from one person to another.

community-based aged care: Support services that assist older people to continue to live independently at home. This may include healthcare and nursing services, home modifications and assistance with daily activities. This report focuses on government-subsidised community-based aged care services.

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.

conduct disorder: Repetitive and persistent behaviour to a degree that violates the basic rights of others, major societal norms or rules – in terms of aggression towards people or animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, and serious violation of rules.

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.

confidence range: A range that indicates the uncertainty of an estimate from data analysis. A 95% confidence interval is a range of values that contain the true value with 95% confidence.

congenital abnormality: A defect present at birth.

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.

controlled high blood pressure: Normal blood pressure reading and taking blood pressure medication.

co-payment: The amount the patient pays towards the cost of a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) subsidised medicine. Patients have different maximum co-payments based on their level of entitlement and safety net status. This does not take into account brand premiums or pharmacists applying the $1 discount. For under co-payment scripts the amount is based on the dispensed price for the quantity of medicine supplied, but does not account for any additional fees or discounts applied by pharmacies. See the PBS website for current and historical co-payment amounts.

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 bypass: A surgical procedure to restore normal blood flow to the heart muscle by diverting the flow of blood around a section of a blocked artery in the heart.

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.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019): An infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

COVID-19 related death: Any death that is linked to COVID-19. Includes deaths caused by COVID-19 as well as deaths of people who died with COVID-19 but where COVID-19 was not necessarily the cause of death.

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.

crude rate: A rate derived from the number of events recorded in a population during a specified time period, without adjustments for other factors such as age (see age-standardisation).

current daily smoker: A respondent who reported at the time of interview that they regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day.

current partner: A person with whom the respondent currently (at the time of survey) lives with in a married or de facto relationship.

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

currently smoke: Reported smoking tobacco daily, weekly or less than weekly at the time of the survey.


daily smoking: 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 citizenship: The ability of people to engage with and use health data in a meaningful, informed, consented and empowered manner, and understand the ethics, governance and legal requirements for health data management.

data linkage/linked data: Bringing together (linking) information from two or more data sources believed to relate to the same entity, such as the same individual or the same institution. The resulting data set is called linked data. In this report, data linkage is used to bring together information from datasets that indicates a population of interest (such as people with dementia) with other datasets that include information on other characteristics or service usage.

data literacy: The ability of people to access, understand and apply information about data and data systems so as to make decisions that relate to their health and welfare.

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.

dementia-specific medications: Prescription medications specifically used to treat the symptoms of dementia. There are 4 dementia-specific medications – Donepezil, Galantamine, Rivastigmine and Memantine – currently subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. These medications can be prescribed to patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease made by (or in consultation with) a specialist or consultant physician under specific clinical criteria. To continue treatment, patients must demonstrate a clinically meaningful response to the treatment. This may include improvements in the patients’ quality of life, cognitive function and/ or behavioural symptoms.

dental services: Services provided by registered dental practitioners. These include cleft lip and palate services; dental assessment; oral and maxillofacial surgery items; orthodontic, periodontic and periodontic services; and other dental items listed in the Medical Benefits Schedule. The term covers dental services funded by health funds, state and territory governments and by individuals’ out-of-pocket payments.

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 in which 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 that is produced by the pancreas and helps glucose enter the body's cells from the bloodstream and then be processed by them. Diabetes is marked by an abnormal build-up of glucose in the blood, and 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.

diabetic retinopathy: A complication of diabetes, caused by damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye. It can lead to vision loss and blindness.

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.

direct expenditure: Expenditure directly related to the treatment or provision of services for a specific disease. It does not include indirect expenditure, such as travel costs for patients, the social and economic burden on carers and family, and lost wages and productivity.

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

dischargee: A person aged at least 18, who is expected to be released from custody during the data collection period, or due to be released within 4 weeks following the data collection period. Persons who were being transferred from one facility to another were not included as dischargees.

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.

dispensed price maximum quantity (DPMQ): The price for dispensing the maximum quantity of a medicine under a given prescribing rule.

downstream factors: Individual-level factors which influence health or the management of individual risk factors.

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: Drug-related hospitalisations are hospitalisations where the principal diagnosis relates to a substance use disorder or direct harm due to selected substances.

dwelling density: The number of dwellings divided a given unit of area (for example, number of dwellings per hectare).

dyslipidaemia: Out-of-range levels of fats in the blood, such as cholesterol or triglycerides. In the Australian Bureau of Statistics Australian Health Survey, it has been defined as total cholesterol greater than or equal to 5.5 mmol/L, LDL cholesterol greater than or equal to 3.5 mmol/L, HDL cholesterol less than 1.0 mmol/L in men or less than 1.3 mmol/L in women, triglycerides greater than or equal to 2mmol/L, or were taking lipid-modifying medication.


e-cigarette: Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are personal vaporising devices, often referred to as vapes, where users inhale vapour rather than smoke. The inhaled vapour usually contains flavourings and may contain nicotine as well.

economic/financial abuse: A pattern of control, exploitation or sabotage of a person’s money, finances and/or economic resources.

elder abuse: A single or repeated act or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person.

elective surgery: Elective surgery is planned surgery that can be booked in advance as a result of a specialist clinical assessment.

electronic cigarette (e-cigarette): See e-cigarette.

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

emergency department presentation: The presentation of a patient at an emergency department is the earliest occasion of being registered clerically and occurs following the arrival of the patient at the emergency department.

emotional abuse: Behaviours or actions that are perpetrated with the intent to manipulate, control, isolate or intimidate, and which cause emotional harm or fear.

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.

endemic: Regularly found among particular people or in a certain area, with infections occurring at a steady rate without external inputs.

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

entrant: A person who is aged at least 18, and entering full-time custody, either on remand or on a sentence. People currently in prison who were transferring from one prison to another were not included as entrants.

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 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development' 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.

excess mortality: The difference between the actual number of deaths and the expected number of deaths (based on previous trends) in a defined time period.

ex-serving ADF members: Australian Defence Force (ADF) members in the serving or reserve population on or after 1 January 1985 and who separated after 1 January 1985.

ex-smoking: Has smoked at least 100 cigarettes or equivalent tobacco in his or her lifetime, but not in the previous 12 months.

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 and domestic violence: Violence within family relationships. Family relationships can include partners, parents, kinship relationships, or carers and co-residents. Family violence is the term preferred by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, noting the ways violence can manifest across extended family networks.

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

fertility rate (total): The total fertility rate is a commonly used summary measure for the number of children a woman is expected to have during her lifetime. This provides an indication of the number of children a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific fertility rates for that year over her entire lifetime.

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 grams or more birthweight. Death is indicated by the fact that, after such separation, the fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence 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 Nations people: People who have identified themselves, or have been identified by a representative (for example, their parent or guardian), as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

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 practice: General practice includes fully-qualified general practitioners (GPs). Physicians in training are normally excluded.

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

genomic sequence: A process to decipher the genetic material found in an organism or a virus to enable tracking of a virus.

genomic surveillance: Used to identify illness clusters before diagnoses are confirmed and reported to public health agencies, initiating a rapid response.

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

gestational diabetes: A form of diabetes when higher than optimal blood glucose is first diagnosed during pregnancy (gestation). It may disappear after pregnancy but signals a high risk of diabetes occurring later on.

Gini coefficient: The Gini coefficient is the internationally accepted summary measure of inequality. Gini coefficient values range between 0 and 1. Values closer to 0 represent higher equality and values closer to 1 represent higher inequality.

glycated haemoglobin: Is the main biomarker used to assess long-term glucose control in people living with diabetes. Haemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells which can bind with sugar to form HbA1c. It is directly related to blood glucose levels and strongly related with the development of long-term diabetes complications.

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.

green space: Urban land covered by vegetation of any kind. This covers vegetation on private and public land, irrespective of size and function, and can also include small water bodies such as ponds, lakes or streams (“blue spaces”).

greenhouse gases: Gases in the atmosphere such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that can absorb infrared radiation, trapping heat in the atmosphere.

greenhouse gas emissions: Gases released (such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) that can absorb infrared radiation, trapping heat in the atmosphere. These can occur naturally or as a result of human activities.

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 glycated haemoglobin.

HDL cholesterol: Cholesterol packaged in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) particles. Often referred to as "good" cholesterol, HDL cholesterol transport LDL cholesterol away from arteries back to the liver to be broken down and removed from the body.

health: Term relating to whether the body (including the mind) is in a well or ill state. With good health, the state of the body and mind are such that a person feels and functions well and can continue to do so for as long as possible.

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.

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 equity: Health equity is the absence of unfair, avoidable or modifiable differences in health between population groups.

health indicator: See indicator.

health inequality: Differences in health between population groups.

health inequity: Health inequities are differences in health between population groups that are socially produced, systematic in their unequal distribution across the population, avoidable and unfair.

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 outcomes: 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.

heart failure: 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.

heatwave: A heatwave is defined as 3 or more consecutive days of high maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for a location (BOM 2021).

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: High blood pressure is defined as when the systolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 140 mmHg, and/or diastolic blood pressure is greater than or equal to 90 mmHg. Hypertension is a diagnosed medical condition where a person’s blood pressure is consistently high, a single high measurement indicates a need for further medical follow up. Generally, if a person has a high blood pressure reading taken on at least 2 separate days by a health professional, this may indicate a diagnosis of hypertension (Health Direct n.d.; Heart Foundation n.d).

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. See acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

homeless: See homelessness.

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

hospitalisation: An episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process (synonymous with admission and separation). 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).

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 services: Services provided to a patient who is receiving admitted patient services or non-admitted patient services in a hospital, but excluding community health services, health research done within the hospital, non-admitted dental services, patient transport services and public health activities. They can include services provided off site, such as dialysis or hospital in the home.

hospital-substitute settings: They are clinically appropriate alternatives to treatments provided in hospital setting. These settings include patient’s home known as hospital in the home or community healthcare clinics, as well as programs to manage or prevent chronic disease as treatment.

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 papillomavirus (HPV): 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.

Hysterectomy: A surgical procedure to remove all or part of the uterus.


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

illicit drug use: Includes use of:

  • any drug that is illegal to possess or use
  • any legal drug used in an illegal manner, such as
    • a drug obtained on prescription, but given or sold to another person to use
    • glue or petrol which is sold legally, but is used in a manner that is not intended, such as inhaling fumes
    • stolen pharmaceuticals sold on the black market (such as pethidine)
  • any drug used for ‘non-medical purposes’, which means drugs used
    • either alone or with other drugs to induce or enhance a drug experience
    • for performance enhancement (for example, athletic)
    • for cosmetic purposes (for example, body shaping).

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.

immunisation coverage rate: The percentage of children registered on the Australian Immunisation Register who have had all the vaccines recommended for their age in the National Immunisation Program Schedule.

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 glucose: The presence of higher than usual levels of glucose in the blood after fasting, in the range of 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L but less than diabetes levels (at least 7.0 mmol/L).

Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT): The presence of higher than optimal levels of glucose in the blood 2 hours after a 75g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) (7.8–11.0 mmol/L) but still below the level needed for a diagnosis of diabetes (≥11.1 mmol/L). IGT can be detected with or without impaired fasting glucose.

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) in a given period. Compare with prevalence.

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).

Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage (IRSD): One of the sets 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.

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 status: A data item that records whether a person has identified themselves or has been identified by a representative (for example, their parent or guardian), as being of  Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.

infant: A child aged under 1 year.

infant mortality: The number of deaths of children under 1 year of age in a given year, expressed per 1,000 live births. While some countries (including Australia and Canada) register all live births including very small babies with low odds of survival, several countries apply a minimum threshold of a gestation period of 22 weeks (or a birth weight threshold of 500 g) for babies to be registered as live births.

infectious disease: A disease or illness caused by an infectious agent (bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi and their toxic products). Many infectious diseases are also communicable diseases.

inflammation: 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 fevers, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, cough 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 birth: Vaginal birth using forceps or vacuum extraction.

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

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).

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD): The World Health Organization’s internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The 10th 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. For mortality related data, the ICD-10 is used.

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

interoperability (semantic): The capability of two or more systems to communicate and exchange information, and for each system to be able to interpret the meaning of received information and to use it seamlessly with other data held by that system.

interoperability (technical): The use of agreed data exchange specifications to encourage consistency in data structure and format to simplify system interactions and integrations.

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: Violent or intimidating behaviours perpetrated by current or former intimate partners, including cohabiting partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or date. Does not include violence by a boyfriend or girlfriend or date. See also partner violence and domestic violence.

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

ischaemic heart disease: Also heart attack and angina (chest pain). Also known as coronary heart diseaseSee 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 failure: The most severe form of chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as Stage 5 CKD or end-stage kidney stage (ESKD).

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

kidney transplant: A healthy kidney is taken from 1 person and surgically placed into someone with kidney failure. 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.

LDL cholesterol: Cholesterol packaged in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles. LDLs carry cholesterol to the various tissues for use. Elevated levels of LDLs contribute to fatty buildup within the artery walls (atherosclerosis), increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

life expectancy: Life expectancy measures how long a person is expected to live if the rest of their life follows the age and sex-specific mortality rates applicable to their respective year of birth. This is the expectation of the average years that a person lives at a specific age. In this summary, ‘life expectancy’ refers to ‘life expectancy at birth’.

lifetime risk (alcohol): The accumulated risk from drinking either on many drinking occasions, or regularly (for example, daily) over a lifetime. The lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury increases with the amount consumed. 

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, which are in blood and body tissues.

live birth (liveborn): 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 (World Health Organization definition).

long COVID: A general term used to describe ongoing COVID-19 symptoms lasting more than 4 weeks. See post COVID-19 condition.

long-term care: Consists of a range of medical, personal care and assistance services that are provided with the primary goal of alleviating pain and reducing or managing the deterioration in health status for people with a degree of long-term dependency, assisting them with their personal care (through help for activities of daily living such as eating, washing and dressing) and assisting them to live independently (through help for instrumental activities of daily living such as cooking, shopping and managing finances).

long-term care recipients at home: People receiving formal (paid) long-term care at home. The services received by long-term care recipients can be publicly or privately financed. Long-term care at home is provided to people with functional restrictions who mainly reside at their own home. It also applies to the use of institutions on a temporary basis to support continued living at home – such as in the case of community care and day care centres and in the case of respite care. Home care also includes specially designed or adapted living arrangements for persons who require help on a regular basis while guaranteeing a high degree of autonomy and self-control.

long-term care recipients in institutions (other than hospitals): People receiving formal (paid) long-term care in institutions (other than hospitals). The services received by long-term care recipients can be financed publicly or privately.

long-term health 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.

lower income household: A household in the ABS Survey of Income and Housing containing persons between the 3rd and 40th percentiles of equivalised disposable household income.


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. See neoplasms.

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.

maternal death: The death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy. Maternal deaths are divided into two categories, direct and indirect.

maternal mortality ratio (MMR): The incidence of maternal death for a defined place and time, using direct and indirects combined (excluding coincidental deaths), over the number of women who gave birth. 

median: Is based on the value(s) of the observation(s) at the midpoint of a list of observations 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 practitioner: Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009, a medical practitioner is a person who holds registration with the Medical Board of Australia.

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 Benefits Schedule (MBS) data collection: The MBS data collection contains information on services that qualify for a benefit under the Health Insurance Act 1973 and for which a claim has been processed. The database comprises information about MBS claims (including benefits paid), patients and service providers. MBS claims data is an administrative by-product of the Services Australia administration of the Medicare fee-for-service payment system.

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.

Medicare-subsidised mental health-specific services: Services provided by psychiatrists, general practitioners, psychologists and other allied health professionals. These services are provided in a range of settings – for example, hospitals, consulting rooms, home visits, telephone and videoconferencing – as defined in the Medicare Benefits Schedule.

Medicare-subsidised services: Refer to services listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule that resulted in a payment of Medicare benefit.

medication reviews: Reviews of medication for people taking 5 or more medications. Medication reviews aim to reduce the risk of potential harms associated with taking multiple medications for different conditions.

medications: Benefit-paid pharmaceuticals and other medications. More information can be found in mental health-related prescriptions section of Mental health.

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 health: A state of wellbeing in which the person realises their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and can contribute to the community. Mental health is the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another and their environment in ways that promote subjective wellbeing, optimal development and the use of cognitive, affective and relational abilities.

mental health issue (specialist homelessness services clients): Clients presenting to a specialist homelessness service identified as having a current mental health issue. They can be identified as such is they provide information on recent mental health disorders or concerns.

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.

microbiology: In the pathology context microbiology is the detection of diseases caused by infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

midwife: A person who is trained to help women in childbirth.

midwifery: Antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care provided by a person 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.

mitigation of climate change: Actions or activities that limit emissions of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere and/or reducing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases (IPCC 2022a).

mixed dementia: Multiple types of dementia affecting the same person. Mixed dementia is common in the population. The most common combination is Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

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.

modifiable risk factors: Risk factors that can be modified or reduced (such as tobacco smoking).

monitoring (of public 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.

mood (affective) disorders: A set of psychiatric disorders, also called mood disorders. The main types of affective disorders are depression and bipolar 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.

mortality rate: Mortality rates are based on numbers of deaths registered in a year divided by the size of the corresponding population. Causes of death are classified according to the Tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) along with codes from other ICD revisions used in the World Health Organization Mortality Database. For making comparisons internationally, age-standardised rates per 100,000 population for selected causes are often calculated using the total OECD population for 2010 as the reference population. The direct method of standardisation is used for age-standardised calculations.

multidisciplinary care: Involves different healthcare providers collaborating on different aspects of an individual’s health needs. This can include doctors, nurses and allied health professionals.

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 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 of death.

muscle-strengthening activity: Any activity that improves the strength, power, endurance and size of skeletal muscles. See also physical activity.

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

musculoskeletal condition: One of a group of conditions, along with arthritis and other conditions, that affects the bones, muscles and joints. These other conditions include back problems, juvenile arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteopenia, #osteoporosis (low bone density) 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.

µg/m3: Millionths of a gram of matter per cubic metre of air, water or other fluid.


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: The number of deaths of children under 28 days of age in a given year, expressed per 1,000 live births.

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

neoplasms: An abnormal mass of tissue that results when cells divide more than they should or do not die when they should. Neoplasms may be benign (not cancer), or malignant (cancer). Also called tumour.

net overseas migration (NOM): The net gain or loss of population through immigration to, and emigration from, Australia. It is measured by counting people who stay in Australia for 12 months or more over a 16-month period. This includes individuals on both permanent and temporary visas, as well as returning and departing Australian citizens.

neuroendocrine neoplasms: Neuroendocrine neoplasms (tumours) develop in cells of the neuroendocrine system (nerves and glands that produce hormones), which are present in most organs but primarily in the gastro-intestinal tract, pancreas, and lungs.

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 not indicated that they are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

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 painkillers/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.

normal weight: Defined as a body mass index of 18.5 to less than 25.

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.

nurse practitioner: A Registered Nurse with experience, expertise and authority to diagnose and treat people with a variety of acute or chronic health conditions.

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


obesity: Marked degree of overweight, defined for population studies as a body mass index of 30 or over. See also overweight.

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.

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, also known as opioid agonist therapy, is one of the most common treatments used for opioid drug dependence in Australia. It involves replacing the opioid drug of dependence (for example, codeine or heroin) with a safer, longer-lasting, medically-prescribed opioid. In Australia, 4 medications are registered as pharmacotherapy for people with opioid dependence (methadone, buprenorphine, buprenorphine-naloxone and buprenorphine long-acting injections).

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.

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 disability: Disability with status other than severe or profound core activity limitation.

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.

other palliative care hospitalisations: Hospitalisations with a recorded diagnosis of palliative care, but the care type is not recorded as palliative care.

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 cost/expenditure: The total cost between the provider fee and the Medicare benefit incurred by an individual for a health care service.

out-of-pocket costs/expenditure: The total costs incurred by individuals for health care services over and above any refunds from the Medicare Benefits Schedule or the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)/Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).

outpatient clinics: The organisational units or organisational arrangements through which a hospital provides a service to a non-admitted patient.

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).

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

over-the-counter medicines data: Payments for non-prescription medications purchased in pharmacies.

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.

palliative care at phase level: A phase level data items describe a palliative care patient’s stage of illness, functional impairment and their levels of pain and symptom distress. Five assessment tools are used to describe the clinical condition of a patient, which, in turn, contribute to a patient’s care plan. These assessment tools are phase of care, SAS, PCPSS, Australia-modified Karnofsky Performance Status (AKPS), and Resource Utilisation Groups – Activities of Daily Living (RUG–ADL) which provide measures of quality and outcomes of care.

The PCOC analyses each service’s data and compares these with the national average. The items at the phase level are used to quantify patient outcomes and are the focus of the PCOC benchmarks. The 4 palliative care phases are:

1.    Stable phase

Stable Phase Start: Patient problems and symptoms are adequately controlled by an established plan of care; further interventions to maintain symptom control and quality of life have been planned and the family/ carer(s) situation is relatively stable and no new issues are apparent.

Stable Phase End: The needs of the patient and or family/carer(s) increase, requiring changes to the existing plan of care.

2.    Unstable phase

Unstable Phase Start: An urgent change in the plan of care or emergency treatment is required as the patient experiences a new problem that was not anticipated in the existing plan of care; and/or the patient experiences a rapid increase in the severity of a current problem; and/or the circumstances of the patient’s family/carer(s) change suddenly, impacting on patient care.

Unstable Phase End: The new plan of care is in place; it has been reviewed and no further changes to the care plan are required. This does not necessarily mean that the symptom crisis has fully resolved but there is a clear diagnosis and plan of care (that is, the patient is stable or deteriorating) and/or death is likely within days (that is, the patient is now terminal).

3.    Deteriorating phase

Deteriorating Phase Start: The care plan is addressing anticipated needs but requires periodic review because the patient’s overall functional status is declining; the patient has a gradual worsening of existing problem and/or a new but anticipated problem; and/or the carer(s)/ family undergo(es) gradually worsening distress that impacts on the patient’s care.

Deteriorating Phase End: The patient condition plateaus (that is, the patient is now stable); or there is an urgent change in the care plan or emergency treatment; and/or the family/ carer(s) have a sudden change in their situation that impacts on patient care, and urgent intervention is required (that is, the patient is now unstable); or death is likely within days (that is, the patient is now terminal).

4.    Terminal phase

Terminal Phase Start: Death is likely within days.

Terminal Phase End: The patient dies or the patient’s condition changes and death is no longer likely within days (that is, the patient is now stable or deteriorating).

palliative care episode: A period of contact between a patient and a service where palliative care is provided in a single setting (for example, inpatient setting). A palliative care episode starts on the date a comprehensive palliative care assessment is undertaken and documented.

An episode ends when one of the following occurs:

  • setting of palliative care changes (for example community to inpatient)
  • principal clinical intent of the care changes and the patient is no longer receiving palliative care
  • patient is formally separated from the service
  • the patient dies.

Palliative care episodes include both open episodes (those without an episode end date in the reporting period), and closed episodes (see closed episodes).

palliative care nurse: The classification of nurses in Australia varies with the type of training they have undertaken. Nurse practitioners, registered nurses and enrolled nurses need to complete a variety of short or more comprehensive courses (including postgraduate certificates and Master’s degrees) to work in the field of palliative care, and postgraduate qualifications are generally required for nurses working in specialist palliative care services.

palliative care phase: Palliative care phase refers to a distinct clinical period which reflects the stage of the patient's illness. Palliative care phase provides a good indication of the type of care required by a palliative care patient.

An episode of admitted patient palliative care may comprise of a single phase or multiple phases, depending on changes in the patient's condition. Phases are not sequential, and a patient may move back and forth between phases within the one episode of admitted patient palliative care.

palliative care-related hospitalisations: Episodes of admitted patient care (or hospitalisation) where palliative care was a component of the care provided during all or part of the episode. These hospitalisations can be divided into 2 groups depending on how they are identified in the hospital data:

  • primary palliative care hospitalisations: hospitalisations with a recorded care type of palliative care, and
  • other palliative care hospitalisations: hospitalisations with a recorded diagnosis of palliative care, but the care type is not recorded as palliative care.

palliative care-related prescriptions: Palliative care-related prescriptions are defined as medications listed in Palliative Care Schedule under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS). Information on prescription medicines has been sourced from the processing of the PBS and RPBS. It refers to medications prescribed by approved prescribers and subsequently dispensed by approved suppliers (community pharmacies or eligible hospital pharmacies). Consequently, it is a count of medications dispensed, rather than a count of prescriptions written by clinicians.

palliative medicine physician/ specialist: Palliative medicine physicians are required to have completed 3 years of full-time equivalent training in either a paediatric or adult setting under the supervision of a palliative medicine physician. Successful trainees gain the qualification of Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP)/ Fellowship of the Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine (FAChPM) and are accredited to practice as a palliative medicine physician in Australia or New Zealand.

Palliative medicine physician/ specialist who, in order to be eligible for payment of MBS subsidies for palliative care services, must be a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians who has completed the College training program in palliative medicine, or a Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine, or a Fellow of both.

palliative medicine: Palliative medicine is defined as the specialist care of people with terminal illnesses and chronic health conditions in community, hospital, and hospice settings. Palliative medicine physicians work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team of health professionals to provide end-of-life care, provide relief from pain and symptoms of illness, and optimise the quality of life for a patient. Palliative medicine treats the physical aspects of illness, but also integrates psychological and spiritual facets of patient care.

pandemic: A new infectious disease that is rapidly spreading across a large region, or worldwide, and affecting large numbers of people. Such as a new influenza virus or COVID-19.

pap test: Papanicolaou test, a procedure to detect cancer and pre-cancerous conditions of the female genital tract.

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

partner violence: Violent or intimidating behaviours perpetrated by a current or former cohabiting partner. See also family and domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

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 contribution: See co-payment.

Patient co-payment: Under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS), the cost of prescription medicines is subsidised by the Commonwealth government. Patients are classified as either general or concessional and are required to pay a patient co-payment towards the cost of their prescription, according to their entitlement. As of 1 January 2023, the co-payment was $30.00 (general) and $7.30 (concessional, including repatriation).

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 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.

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.

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.

perceived health status: A measure that reflects people’s overall perception of their health. Survey respondents are typically asked a question such as: “How is your health in general?”. Caution is required in making cross-country comparisons of perceived health status for at least two reasons. First, people’s assessment of their health is subjective and can be affected by cultural factors. Second, there are variations in the question and answer categories used to measure perceived health status across surveys and countries. The response scale used in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Chile is asymmetric (skewed on the positive side), including the following response categories: “excellent, very good, good, fair, poor”. In Israel, the scale is symmetric but there is no middle category related to “fair health”. Such differences in response categories bias upwards the results from those countries that are using an asymmetric scale or a symmetric scale but without any middle category. See self-assessed health.

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.

perinatal mortality: The ratio of deaths of children within one week of birth (early neonatal deaths) plus foetal deaths of minimum gestation period 28 weeks or minimum foetal weight of 1,000 g, expressed per 1,000 births.

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

permanent ADF members: A term that describes Australian Defence Force (ADF) members serving in a regular capacity in the Navy, Army or Air Force on continuous full-time service, or participating in the gap year program.

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. 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.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data collection: The PBS data collection contains information on prescription medicines that qualify for a benefit under the National Health Act 1953 and for which a claim has been processed. The database comprises information about PBS scripts and payments, patients, prescribers and dispensing pharmacies. PBS data is an administrative by-product of the Services Australia administration of the PBS Online system.

Pharmaceutical Reform Arrangements: Bilateral arrangements that support the access to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines in the public hospital setting for non-admitted, day-admitted or patients being discharged from hospitals, are in place between the Commonwealth and all jurisdictions except New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

pharmaceutical sales: sales of pharmaceuticals on the domestic market, in total and by selected Anatomic Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) groups, based on retail prices (which means the final price paid by the customer).

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

physical activity: Any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical activity includes sporting and leisure activities, as well as incidental activities done during work, for transport or household chores. See also muscle-strengthening activity.

Australia's Physical activity and exercise guidelines recommend that:

  • Children and young people (5–17 years) accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (activity that makes the heart beat faster) each day, and also incorporate muscle-strengthening activity on at least 3 days per week.
  • 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, and incorporate different types of activities, including muscle-strengthening activities.

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 violence: Non-accidental physical act inflicted on a person by another person. Can include slaps, hits, punches, being pushed down stairs or across a room, choking and burns, as well as the use of knives, firearms and other weapons, or threats of such acts. For some data sources, the term physical abuse is used to refer to physical violence in specific contexts or for a certain age group, such as elder abuse or child abuse. For example: in the Personal Safety Survey, physical abuse refers only to incidents that occurred before the age of 15; for child protection reporting, physical abuse refers to any non-accidental physical act inflicted upon a child by a person having the care of a child.

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

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.

polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test: A laboratory test that detects genetic material from a specific organism, such as a virus that causes COVID-19.

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 COVID-19 condition: COVID-19 symptoms after 12 weeks that are not explained by an alternative diagnosis.

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): Admission to hospital for a condition where the hospitalisation could have potentially been prevented through the provision of appropriate individualised preventative health interventions and early disease management usually delivered in primary care and community-based care settings (including by general practitioners, medical specialists, dentists, nurses and allied health professionals). The PPH conditions are classified as vaccine preventable, chronic and acute. Respective examples include influenza and pneumonia, diabetes complications and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and dental and kidney conditions. The rate of PPHs can be used as an indicator of the effectiveness of non-hospital care.

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.

prescription: The supply of a medicine to a patient by a pharmacist under the PBS or RPBS, including community pharmacy and hospital settings.

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.

previous partner: A person with whom the respondent lived with at some point in a married or de-facto relationship and from whom the respondent is now separated, divorced or widowed.

primary care: The first point of contact an individual has with the health system and relates to the treatment of non-admitted patients in the community. A subset of primary health care.

primary carer: A primary carer is the carer who provided the most informal, ongoing assistance for a person with a disability. In the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, for a person to be considered a primary carer they must be aged 15 or over and assist with 1 or more core activity tasks (mobility, self-care or communication). Their assistance must be ongoing, or likely to be ongoing, for at least 6 months. In this report, the primary carer had to be living in the same household as their care recipient.

primary health care: These are services delivered in many 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 palliative care hospitalisations: Hospitalisations with a recorded care type of palliative care.

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.

prison: Place administered and operated by a justice department, where individuals are detained while under the supervision of the relevant justice department on a pre-sentence or sentenced detention episode.

prisoner: Somone aged 18 and over who is held in custody and whose confinement is the responsibility of a correctional services agency. Comprises of sentenced individuals and people held in custody awaiting trial or sentencing (remandees or people on remand). Youth offenders, people in psychiatric custody, police cell detainees, those in periodic detention, asylum seekers or Australians held in overseas prisons are not included.

prison mental health service: A health service that provides screening of prisoners at intake, does psychiatric assessments, provides therapy or counselling by mental health professionals and distributes psychotropic medication. This may be part of or separate to the prison heath service.

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 freestanding 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.

private prescriptions data: Payments for prescriptions for which no benefit is payable are estimated using the Pharmacy Guild of Australia and historical data.

private sector: Sector of the economy which is owned and controlled by individuals and companies. In contrast to the public sector which is owned and controlled by the government.

procedure: A clinical intervention that is surgical in nature, carries a procedural and anaesthetic risk, requires specialised training, and/or requires special facilities or equipment only available in an admitted patient care setting. Procedures therefore encompass surgical procedures as well as non-surgical investigative and therapeutic procedures.

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 disease/ chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): A preventable and treatable lung disease characterised by chronic obstruction of lung airflow that interferes with normal breathing and is not fully reversible.

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: One number (numerator) divided by another number (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. In some instances, for example with prescription volumes or expenditure amounts in magnitude, a multiplier of 100 is used to aid comprehension.

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

reception: The formal process whereby sentenced persons are received into prison, either on remand or sentence.

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 standard error: The standard error (SE) is a measure of the dispersion of estimates calculated from all possible random samples from the same population. This can be estimated using the achieved single sample. The relative standard error (RSE) is the SE expressed as a percentage of the estimate, and provides an indication of the size of the SE relative to the size of the estimate.

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: Each state and territory is divided into several regions based on their relative accessibility to goods and services as measured by road distance. These regions are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia and defined as Remoteness Areas by the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) in each Census year. The 5 Remoteness Areas are: Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote and Very remote. Please refer to the ASGS Remoteness Structure 2021 for more information.

remuneration: the average gross annual income, including social security contributions and income taxes payable by the employee.

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.

replacement-level fertility: Replacement-level fertility is the number of babies a female would need to have over her reproductive life span to replace herself and her partner. Given not all babies survive to reproductive age and babies are more likely to be male, replacement fertility is around 2.1 babies per woman in most advanced economies.

reserve/reservist ADF members: Australian Defence Force (ADF) members in the active or inactive reserve forces for the Navy, Army or Air Force. Most members leaving full-time service make the transition to the inactive reserve forces, unless there are medical or other grounds preventing this.

residential long-term care facilities: Establishments primarily engaged in providing residential long-term care that combines nursing, supervisory or other types of care as required by the residents. In these establishments, a significant part of the production process and the care provided is a mix of health and social services, with the health services being largely at the level of nursing care, in combination with personal care services. The medical components of care are, however, much less intensive than those provided in hospitals.

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.

respiratory disease group: Includes asthma, COPD, sarcoidosis (with lung involvement), interstitial lung disease (ILD), pneumoconiosis (asbestosis, silicosis, and other pneumoconiosis), upper respiratory conditions (mainly allergic rhinitis – also known as hay fever) and other respiratory diseases (including bronchiectasis and respiratory disease due to inhalation of chemicals, gases, fumes, and vapours).

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. It can occur in all age groups but most commonly appears between ages 20–40. Its causes are not certain but involve auto-immune processes.

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

risk factors: 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 (ASGS). 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.

salaried: Health professionals who are employees and who receive most of their income via a salary.

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

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

schooling restriction: A person is defined has having a schooling restriction if they have one or more disabilities and, because of their disability, they:

  • are unable to attend school
  • attend a special school
  • attend special classes at an ordinary school
  • need at least one day a week off school on average
  • have difficulty at school.

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.

Key elements include that:

  1. The consumer is alone.
  2. The seclusion applies at any time of the day or night.
  3. Duration is not relevant in determining what is or is not seclusion.
  4. The consumer cannot leave of their own accord.

The intended purpose of the confinement is not relevant in determining what is or is not seclusion. Seclusion applies even if the consumer agrees or requests the confinement.

The awareness of the consumer that they are confined alone and denied exit is not relevant in determining what is or is not seclusion. The structure and dimensions of the area to which the consumer is confined is not relevant in determining what is or is not seclusion. The area may be an open area, for example, a courtyard. Seclusion does not include confinement of consumers to High Dependency sections of gazetted mental health units, unless it meets the definition.

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. See perceived health status.

self-employed: Health professionals who are primarily non-salaried. That is, they are either self-employed, or operate independently, usually receiving (mainly) either capitation or fee-for-service reimbursement.

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: An episode of care for an admitted patient, which can be a total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute care to rehabilitation). Separation also means the process by which an admitted patient completes an episode of care either by being discharged, dying, transferring to another hospital or changing type of care.

seroprevalence surveys (serosurveys): Surveys that estimate the percentage of a specific population that has been infected with a pathogen through serological testing. They can tell us about the total number of people who have been infected, including those infections that might have been missed.

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

Service contact (community mental health care): The provision of a clinically significant service by a specialised mental health service provider for patient/clients, other than those admitted to psychiatric hospitals or designated psychiatric units in acute care hospitals and those resident in 24 hour staffed specialised residential mental health services, where the nature of the service would normally warrant a dated entry in the clinical record of the patient/client in question. Any one patient can have one or more service contacts over the relevant financial year period. Service contacts are not restricted to face to face communication but can include telephone, video link or other forms of direct communication. Service contacts can also be either with the patient or with a third party, such as a carer or family member, and/or other professional or mental health worker, or other service provider.

severe or profound core activity limitation: A limitation where someone 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.

severe, moderate and mild mental disorders: In the Young Minds Matter survey the impact of mental disorders were classified into three levels of impact on functioning by applying the national mental health service planning standard ratio of severity for mental disorders to the standardised score (1:2:4 for severe, moderate and mild cases). In addition suicide plans or attempts in the past 12 months were considered. The three levels are:

  • Severe: A positive diagnosis plus an impact score greater than or equal to 1.75 and/or a history of suicide attempt in the 12 months prior to interview
  • Moderate: A positive diagnosis plus an impact score greater than or equal to 0.95 or a history of suicide plans in the 12 months prior to interview
  • Mild: All other cases with a positive diagnosis.

sexual abuse: Behaviours of a sexual nature by one person upon another. Sexual abuse of a child refers to any act that exposes a child to, or involves the child in, sexual activities that: the child does not understand, the child does not or cannot consent to, are not accepted by the community, or are unlawful. It includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault. Other behaviours include forcing a child to watch or hear sexual acts, taking sexualised photos of a child, and sexually explicit talk.

sexual assault: Sexual act carried out against a person’s will through the use of physical force, intimidation or coercion. Includes rape, attempted rape, aggravated sexual assault (assault with a weapon), indecent assault, and penetration by objects, forced sexual activity that did not end in penetration and attempts to force a person into sexual activity. These acts are an offence under state and territory criminal law.

sexual harassment: Behaviours that make a person uncomfortable and are offensive due to their sexual nature. Can include indecent phone calls, text messages, emails or social media posts; indecent exposure; inappropriate comments; and unwanted sexual touching.

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

sexual violence: Behaviours of a sexual nature carried out against a person’s will using physical force or coercion (or any threat or attempt to do so). Can be perpetrated by partners in a domestic relationship, former partners, other people known to the victims, or strangers. Can include sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment.

siblicide: A homicide where one sibling kills another sibling.

significant: Data are described as significant where statistical significance has been determined for results. Statistical significance is determined by the mean and standard deviation of the data sample. This indicates the result is due to a factor of interest rather than chance or other confounding variables.

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: Smoking 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:

  • current daily smoker: a respondent who regularly smoked one or more cigarettes, cigars or pipes per day
  • current smoker – other: a respondent who smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipes, less frequently than daily
  • ex–smoker: a respondent who does not smoke currently, but previously smoked daily, or has smoked at least 100 cigarettes, or smoked pipes or cigars at least 20 times in their lifetime
  • never smoked: a respondent who has never regularly smoked daily, and has smoked less than 100 cigarettes, or smoked less than 20 pipes or cigars in their lifetime.

The 2022–­2023 National Drug Strategy Household Survey uses the following smoking definitions:

  • currently smoke: reported smoking tobacco daily, weekly or less than weekly at the time of the survey
  • daily smoking: 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
  • do not smoke: never smoked tobacco, or smoked tobacco previously but not currently (ex-smoking)
  • ex-smoking: has smoked at least 100 cigarettes or equivalent tobacco in their lifetime but does not smoke at all now
  • never smoked: smoked fewer than 100 cigarettes or the equivalent tobacco in their lifetime.

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 connectedness: A sense of belonging to the community, family and/or friends.

social determinants of health: The conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. These forces and systems include economic policies and systems, development agendas, social norms, social policies and political systems.

social exclusion: 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 disadvantaged areas: Socioeconomic categories are based on different aspects of disadvantage (for example, low income, low educational attainment, and high unemployment) and reflect the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population in an area. Individuals in the same area may differ from each other in their socioeconomic category. The socioeconomic categories are on a scale of 5: 1 (most overall disadvantaged) to 5 (least overall disadvantaged). A low score indicates a high proportion of relatively disadvantaged people in an area. Please refer to the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) 2021 for more information.

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.

socioeconomic position: An indication of how ‘well off’ a person or group is. In this report, socioeconomic position is often reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, typically for five groups (quintiles) – from the most disadvantaged (worst off or lowest socioeconomic area) to the least disadvantaged (best off or highest socioeconomic area). Levels of income, education and occupation are common person-based indicators of socioeconomic position.

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 requires 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.

specialists: Fully-qualified physicians who have specialised and work primarily in areas other than general practice. Physicians in training are normally excluded.

stage (cancer): 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.

stalking: Unwanted behaviours, such as following or unwanted contact, that occur more than once and cause fear or distress. Stalking is a crime in every state and territory of Australia.

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.

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).

street connectivity: Describes how well streets are connected to each other, usually through density of path and road network connections.

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.

subsidised prescriptions: A Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) prescription is subsidised when the dispensed price of a medication exceeds the patient co-payment. The PBS and RPBS covers the difference between the full cost of the medication and the patient co-payment.

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

substantiated maltreatment: An investigation concluded that a child had been, was being, or was at risk or significant risk of being, maltreated.

substantiation of notification (child protection): Child protection notification made to relevant authorities between 1 July and 30 June that was investigated (with the investigation finalised by 31 August), and where it was concluded there was reasonable cause to believe the child had been, was being, or was likely to be, abused, neglected or otherwise harmed. Substantiation does not necessarily require sufficient evidence for a successful prosecution, and does not imply that treatment or case management was provided. Substantiations may also include cases where there is no suitable caregiver, such as children who have been abandoned, or whose parents are deceased.

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

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

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

syndromic surveillance system: Used to identify illness clusters before diagnoses are confirmed and reported to public health agencies, initiating a rapid response.

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 or through other communication technologies.

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

telepsychiatry: The electronic transmission of psychiatric consultations, advice or services in digital form from one location to another using a data communication link. Now subsumed by telehealth items in the MBS.

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

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). See burden of disease (and injury).

trachoma: An infectious disease of the eye caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. If left untreated, follicles (small groups of cells) form on the upper eyelids and grow larger until they invade the cornea, eventually causing blindness.

transnational corporations: A corporation with operations in more than one country. 

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 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: The majority of fats in both food and the body are Triglycerides. Triglycerides are used to store and transfer excess energy from the diet around the body. High levels of triglycerides contribute to fatty buildup within the artery walls (atherosclerosis), increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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 (but can be diagnosed at any age) and marked by a complete lack of insulin. Insulin replacement is needed for survival. It is a lifelong disease, for which the exact cause is unknown, but believed to be the result of an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. See diabetes (diabetes mellitus).

type 2 diabetes: The most common form of diabetes, is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. The condition has strong genetic and family-related (non-modifiable) risk factors and is also often associated with modifiable risk factors. See diabetes (diabetes mellitus).


ultraviolet (UV) radiation: Is part of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by the sun. It has major importance to human health, particularly in relation to vitamin D production, the functioning of the immune system, and the formation of skin cancers and cataracts.

uncontrolled high blood pressure: Measured systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more, or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, whether or not they were taking blood pressure medication.

under co-payment prescription: A prescription priced below the co-payment as defined in the National Health Act 1953. A Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) prescription is classified as under co-payment when the dispensed price of the prescription does not exceed the patient co-payment, and the patient pays the full cost of the medication.

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 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).

unstable angina: A form of angina that is more dangerous than normal angina but less so than a heart attack. It can feature chest pain that occurs at rest; and in someone who already has angina it can be marked by new patterns of onset with exertion or by pain that comes on more easily, more often or for longer than previously.

upstream factors: Macro or population-level factors which influence health, such as political, economic, cultural systems.

urban heat islands: Occur when areas replace natural land and coverings with dense infrastructure such as buildings and roads which absorb and retain the heat and hence these urbanised areas experience higher temperatures than nearby rural areas.

urban sprawl: The unrestricted growth of areas outside of major urban areas which lead to urban development in more rural areas.

$US purchasing power parity (PPP): purchasing power parities (PPPs) are the rates of currency conversion that equalise the purchasing power of different countries by eliminating the differences in price levels between countries. In their simplest form, PPPs show the ratio of prices in national currencies of the same good or service in different countries. This indicator is measured in terms of the national currency per US dollar.


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

vaccine: A substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases. It is prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, and treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease.

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

vector-borne diseases: Diseases that are spread between humans or animals by a vector such as mosquitoes.

victimisation rate: The number of victims per 100,000 of the Estimated Resident Population (ERP).

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.

virus: An infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and can multiply only within the living cells of a host.


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

waste-water based surveillance: Genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is shed by infected asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals which can be detected in wastewater before clinical cases are identified.

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.

wider determinants of health: The factors which influence health, most of them non-medical. These many factors, known as 'health determinants', may be risk or protective factors, and interact to influence the health of individuals and communities. Health determinants include general socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions, living and working conditions, social and community networks, individual behavioural and biological factors, health literacy and commercial determinants.  

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. Sometimes referred to as years of healthy life lost due to disability (YLD).

years of healthy life lost due to disability: See years lived with disability (YLD).

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.

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.

younger onset dementia: Dementia that develops in people aged under 65.


zoonotic diseases: Diseases that are naturally transmissible between humans and animals.


ABS (2022) National Health Survey, 2022, ABS website, accessed 1 February 2024.

ABS (2023) National, state and territory population, ABS website, accessed 25 June 2024.

BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) (2021) Understanding heatwaves, BOM website, accessed 17 December 2021.

Coleman S (2017) Australia: state of the environment report 2016: built environment, Department of Environment and Energy, Australian Government, accessed 9 December 2021.

Health Direct (n.d.) High blood pressure (hypertension) [website], accessed 05 February 2024.

Heart Foundation (n.d.) Blood pressure and your heart [website], accessed 5 February 2024.

IPCC (2022a) IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: mitigation of climate change, Frequently asked questions, FAQ 1.1, IPCC website, accessed 7 April 2022.

IPCC (2022b) IPCC Sixth Assessment Report: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, Frequently asked questions, FAQ 4, IPCC website, accessed 7 April 2022.

Slade T, Johnston A, Teesson M, Whiteford H, Burgess P, Pirkis J et al. 2009. The mental health of Australians 2: report on the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing.