Glossary

Most definitions in this glossary contain an identification number from the Metadata Online Registry (METEOR). 

METEOR is Australia’s central repository for health, community services, and housing assistance metadata, or ‘data about data’. It provides definitions for data for topics related to health and community services, and specifications for related national minimum data sets. 

For more information on the terms used in this report, see the definitions in the National health data dictionary version 16.2.

Access block: The situation where patients who have been admitted and need a hospital bed are delayed from leaving the Emergency Department (ED) because of lack of inpatient (admitted patient) bed capacity (ACEM 2024).

Activity-based funding (ABF): A method of funding health services based on the amount and type of activity. METEOR identifier: 678967.

Acute: A medical condition that comes on suddenly and lasts for a limited time.

Acute care: Care in which the intent is to perform surgery, diagnostic or therapeutic procedures in the treatment of illness or injury. Management of childbirth is also considered acute care.

Acute care hospital: See establishment type.

Acute renal dialysis unit: A facility dedicated to dialysis of renal failure patients requiring acute care. METEOR identifier: 619627.

Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) unit: A facility dedicated to the treatment of AIDS patients. METEOR identifier: 619614

Acute spinal cord injury unit: A facility dedicated to the initial treatment and subsequent ongoing management and rehabilitation of patients with acute spinal cord injury. METEOR identifier: 619640.

Addition to an elective surgery waiting list: The process whereby a patient is placed on a public hospital waiting list for elective surgery.

Additional diagnosis: A condition or complaint either coexisting with the principal diagnosis or arising during the episode of admitted patient care, episode of residential care or attendance at a health care establishment. METEOR identifier: 746667.

Administrative and clerical staff: Staff engaged in administrative and clerical duties. Medical staff and nursing staff, diagnostic and health professionals and any domestic staff primarily or partly engaged in administrative and clerical duties are excluded. Civil engineers and computing staff are included in this category. METEOR identifier: 327166.

Administrative expenditure: The expenditure incurred by establishments of a management expenses/administrative support nature, such as any rates and taxes, printing, telephone, stationery, and insurance (including workers compensation). METEOR identifier: 542106.

Administrative expenses—insurance: Expenditure incurred by establishments for the purposes of insurance (excluding workers’ compensation premiums and medical indemnity). METEOR identifier: 542106.

Admission: The process whereby the hospital accepts responsibility for the patient’s care and/or treatment. Admission follows a clinical decision based upon specified criteria that a patient requires same-day or overnight care or treatment. METEOR identifier: 327206.

Admissions from elective surgery waiting lists: Episodes for patients who were admitted (removed from the waiting list) for their awaited elective surgery. Patients can be admitted for surgery from an elective surgery waiting list as an Elective admission or Emergency admission.

Admitted acute care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for admitted patients receiving acute care, including expenditure associated with the care of unqualified newborns (reported under the mother’s episode of care), but excluding mental health care. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Admitted mental health care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for admitted patients receiving mental health care defined as care in which the primary clinical purpose or treatment goal is improvement in the symptoms and/or psychosocial, environmental, and physical functioning related to a patient's mental disorder. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Admitted patient: A patient who undergoes a hospital’s formal admission process to receive treatment and/or care. This treatment and/or care is provided over a period of time and can occur in hospital and/or in the person’s home (for hospital-in-the-home patients). METEOR identifier: 268957.

Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set (APC NMDS): The Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set (APC NMDS) collects information about care provided to admitted patients in Australian hospitals. The APC NMDS includes episodes of care for admitted patients in all public and private acute and psychiatric hospitals, free standing day hospital facilities and alcohol and drug treatment centres in Australia. Hospitals specialising in dental, ophthalmic aids and other specialised acute medical or surgical care are also included. Hospitals operated by the Australian Defence Force, corrections authorities and in Australia’s off-shore territories may also be included. Hospital boarders and still births are not included as they are not admitted to hospital. Posthumous organ procurement episodes are also not included.

Admitted subacute care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for admitted patients receiving subacute care but excluding mental health care. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Adverse event: An incident in which harm resulted to a person receiving health care. This includes infections, falls and other injuries, and reactions or complications due to surgery and other interventions, medical devices, or medication, some of which may be preventable.

Age-standardisation: A set of techniques used to remove, as far as possible, the effects of differences in age when comparing 2 or more populations.

Alcohol and drug treatment centre: A facility/service dedicated to the treatment of alcohol and drug dependence. METEOR identifier: 619655.

Allied health and/or clinical nurse specialist clinic: A clinic in which services are provided by an allied health professional or clinical nurse specialist.  Allied health professionals include a range of occupations that provide diagnostic, technical, and therapeutic services to the aged care, mental health, disability and health sectors.

Appendix removal: Appendix removal is a surgical procedure in which an infected appendix is removed, either through keyhole or open surgery.

Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI): ACHI was developed by the Australian Consortium for Classification Development. The 12th edition was used for the 2022–23 interventions data for admitted patients in Australian hospitals.

Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRGs): An Australian classification system that allows for the number and different types of patients to be categorised according to their condition, procedure, or diagnosis. DRGs provide a clinically meaningful way of relating the number and type of patients treated in a hospital (that is, its casemix) to the resources required by the hospital. Each AR-DRG represents a class of patients with similar clinical conditions requiring similar hospital services.

Average available beds for overnight-stay patients: The number of beds available to provide overnight accommodation for patients—other than neonatal cots (non-special-care) and beds occupied by hospital-in-the-home patients—averaged over the counting period. METEOR identifier: 616014.

Average: On this website, average refers to the arithmetic mean. This is the calculated by dividing the sum of the relevant values by the number of relevant values.

Average available beds for same-day patients: The number of beds, chairs, or trolleys available to provide accommodation for same-day patients, averaged over the counting period. METEOR identifier: 616017.

Average length of stay (ALOS): The average number of days spent in hospital for each stay (episode of care) for admitted patients who stayed at least one night.

Bed days: The total number of days for patients who were admitted for an episode of care and who separated during a specified reference period. A patient who is admitted and separated on the same day is allocated one bed day.

Beds: Public hospital bed numbers and private hospital bed numbers presented in this report are based on different definitions. Public hospital bed numbers are for average available beds—the average number of beds immediately available for use (with staffing). Private hospital bed numbers represent the number of licensed or registered beds.

Benign: An abnormal growth which is not cancerous and only grows in one place. They do not spread to or invade other parts of the body, but they can be dangerous if they press on vital organs, such as the brain..

Block-funding: Public hospitals, or public hospital services, are eligible for Block funding if the requirement for activity-based funding cannot be satisfied. They may also be eligible when economies of scale are not present, meaning the provision of services is not financially viable under ABF. Block funding is set in these circumstances based on a scale of NWAU levels for the relevant hospitals. (National Health Funding Body 2024).

Bone marrow transplantation unit: A specialised facility for bone marrow transplantation METEOR identifier: 619693.

Burns unit (level III): A facility dedicated to the initial treatment and subsequent rehabilitation of severely injured burns patient (usually more than 10% of the patient’s body surface affected). METEOR identifier: 619702.

Caesarean delivery: Caesarean delivery is a surgical procedure in which one or more incisions are made through a mother’s abdomen and uterus to deliver one or more babies.

Campus: A discrete grouping of co-located hospital facilities within a broader health service.

Cardiac surgery unit: A facility dedicated to operative and peri-operative care of patients with cardiac disease. METEOR identifier: 619713.

Cardio-thoracic surgery: Surgery performed on the organs inside the chest, in particular the heart and lungs.

Care type: The overall nature of care delivered, derived from other service characteristics. Can be assigned as

  • Acute care
  • Subacute and non-acute care (Rehabilitation, Palliative care, Geriatric evaluation and management, Psychogeriatric care, Maintenance care)
  • Mental health care
  • Newborn care
  • Other care

METEOR identifier: 711010.

Casemix: The range and types of patients (the mix of cases) treated by a hospital or other health service. Casemix classifications (such as AR-DRGs) provide a way of describing and comparing hospitals and other services for management purposes.

Cataract extraction: Removal of a lens of the eye affected by a cataract, which is a white substance on the lens that impairs vision. The diseased lens is then replaced with an artificial one in a procedure called ‘lens insertion’. This is often done at the same time as the cataract extraction.

Cellulitis: Cellulitis is a skin infection usually caused by bacteria.

Chemotherapy: The treatment of diseases (including but not limited to cancer) using chemical agents.

Chemotherapy (private provider): Chemotherapy provided on the campus of a public hospital by a co-located private facility to private patients or where specialists operate from a public hospital under right of private practice arrangements.

Childbirth: Admission to hospital to give birth.

Cholecystectomy: Removal of the gallbladder.

Chronic: Persistent and long-lasting.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a lung disease defined by limited airflow because of breakdown of lung tissue (known as emphysema) and obstruction of the small airways. This condition is also referred to as Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COAD) and Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease (CORD).

Clinic type: The type of service through which an establishment provides health care to a non-admitted patient in a non-admitted setting. METEOR identifier: 781588.

Clinical genetics unit: A facility dedicated to diagnostic and counselling services for clients who are affected by, at risk of, or anxious about genetic disorders. METEOR identifier: 619723.

Clinically recommended time: Amount of time in which patients in an emergency department should receive treatment. The maximum waiting time is recommended by the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine and varies according to the patient’s triage category.

Clinical urgency: A clinical assessment of the urgency with which a patient requires elective surgery. METEOR identifier: 732423.

Commonwealth funded aged care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for Australian Government-funded aged care patients (such as residential aged care and Multi-Purpose Services). METEOR identifier: 718103.

Comparable Cost of Care: Comparable Cost of Care is a measure that focuses on the comparable costs of acute admitted patients and includes the costs of emergency department patients who are subsequently admitted allowing for an assessment of the efficiency of public hospitals.

Compensable: An event for which compensation was used as the funding source. Compensation sources include Motor vehicle third party personal claim, Worker’s compensation, and other compensation. METEOR identifier: 327420.

Comprehensive epilepsy centre: A facility dedicated to seizure characterisation, evaluation of therapeutic regimes, pre-surgical evaluation, and epilepsy surgery for patients with refractory epilepsy. METEOR identifier: 619743.

Condition onset flag (COF): A means of differentiating those conditions which arise during, or arose before, an admitted patient episode of care. A better understanding of those conditions arising during the episode of care may inform prevention strategies, particularly in relation to complications of medical care. METEOR identifier: 686100.

Constant prices: Constant price expenditure adjusts current prices for the effects of inflation; that is, it aims to remove the effects of inflation. It lets us compare expenditure for health goods and services in different years without inflation affecting the results.

Continuous ventilator support (CVS): refers to the use of a machine to assist breathing (also known as invasive ventilator support or mechanical ventilation).

Contracted care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for the provision of contracted care by private hospitals. METEOR identifier: 684914.

COPD: See Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Coronary artery bypass surgery: In this procedure (also known as heart bypass surgery) blood flow through the heart muscle is improved by sewing a healthy blood vessel onto the heart, bypassing a blocked or diseased part of the coronary artery.

Coronary care unit: A facility dedicated to acute care services for patients with cardiac diseases. METEOR identifier: 619758.

Cosmetic surgery: A surgical specialty focusing on the modification or enhancement of physical appearance.

Cost per admission: A measure that shows how much money on average different hospitals spend to treat patients admitted for selected conditions or procedures.

National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU):  A National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU) is a measure of health service activity expressed as a common unit, against which the National Efficient Price (NEP) is paid. It provides a way of comparing and valuing each public hospital service, whether they are emergency department presentations, admissions, or outpatient episodes, weighted for clinical complexity. The average hospital service is worth one NWAU – the most intensive and expensive activities are worth multiple NWAU, the simplest and least expensive are worth fractions of an NWAU. See National Health Funding Body.

Cost weight: Australian Refined Diagnostic Related Groups (AR-DRGs) classify hospitalisations into groups, each of which has a similar level of resource utilisation (cost). The ‘cost weights’ indicate the relative cost of hospitalisations in one AR-DRG compared to hospitalisations in another AR-DRG.  A hospitalisation for an AR-DRG with a cost weight of 5.0, therefore, on average costs 10 times as much as a hospitalisation with a cost weight of 0.5. There are separate cost weights (directly related to the diagnosis related group (AR-DRG) assigned to the hospitalisation) in the public and private sectors, reflecting the differences in the range of costs in the different sectors.

Coverage: The extent to which records in a database account for all occurrences of a particular event. For example, if there were estimated to be 100,000 events (such as admissions, outpatient occasions of service or emergency department presentations) nationally and 95,000 of these were specifically recorded in a database, the database would be said to have 95% coverage.

Current prices: Expenditures reported for a particular year, unadjusted for inflation.

Cystoscopy: Examination of the bladder by inserting a tube into the urethra.

Days of patient care: A Day of patient care is a day, or part of a day, that a patient is admitted to hospital to receive treatment or care. Days of patient care are the total number of days spent in hospital by all patients who were discharged from hospital during the reported period.

Deflator: A deflator is a value (or a set of values) that adjusts current prices for the effects of inflation, resulting in constant prices, in terms of some base period.

Dental clinic: Hospital facility for non-admitted patients providing services relating to the teeth.

Department of Veterans’ Affairs patient: A person whose charges for the hospital admission are met by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). These patients include eligible veterans and war widows/widowers. The data are supplied by the states and territories and the eligibility to receive hospital treatment as a DVA patient may not necessarily have been confirmed by the DVA. METEOR identifier: 644877.

Depreciation: Depreciation represents the expensing of a long-term asset over its useful life.

Depreciation—building: Building depreciation includes depreciation charges for buildings and fixed fit-out such as items fitted to the building (for example, lights and partitions). See non-salary expenditure. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Diabetes unit: A facility dedicated to the treatment of patients with diabetes. METEOR identifier: 619769.

Diagnostic and allied health professionals: Qualified staff (other than qualified medical and nursing staff) engaged in duties of a diagnostic, professional or technical nature (but also including diagnostic and health professionals whose duties are primarily or partly of an administrative nature). This category includes all allied health professionals and laboratory technicians (but excludes civil engineers and computing staff). METEOR identifier: 620091. See full time equivalent staff.

Diagnostic services clinic: A clinic which provides diagnostic services in a specific field of medicine or condition. These services include imaging, screening, clinical measurement, and pathology.

Domiciliary care service: A facility or service dedicated to the provision of nursing or other professional paramedical care or treatment and domestic assistance to patients in their own homes or in residential institutions.

Duration of clinical care: The period between when clinical care commences and the end of the non-admitted patient emergency department episode.

(Australian Refined Diagnosis) Diagnosis Related Group (AR-DRG): The AR-DRG is a widely used casemix classification system used to classify admissions into groups with similar clinical conditions (related diagnoses) and similar resource usage. It is derived from a range of data collected on admitted patients, including diagnosis and procedure information, classified using ICD-10-AM. This allows the activity and performance of hospitals to be compared on a common basis. METEOR identifier: 391295.

Direct teaching, training, and research expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for direct teaching, training, and research. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Domestic and other staff: Staff engaged in the provision of food and cleaning services including those primarily engaged in administrative duties such as food services manager. Dieticians are excluded. This category also includes all staff not elsewhere included (primarily maintenance staff, trades people and gardening staff). METEOR identifier: 620091.

Domestic services expenditure: The cost of all domestic services, including electricity, other fuel and power, domestic services for staff, accommodation, and kitchen expenses, but not including salaries and wages, food costs or equipment replacement and repair costs. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Domiciliary care service unit: A facility dedicated to the provision of nursing or other professional paramedical care or treatment and non-qualified domestic assistance to patients in their own homes or in residential institutions not part of the establishment. METEOR identifier: 619790.

Drug supplies expenditure: The cost of all drugs, including the cost of containers. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Ear, nose, and throat surgery: Surgical specialty that treats diseases and problems affecting the ears, nose, throat, head and neck.

ED: See Emergency department

Efficiency: Efficiency is attained when output is maximised, given the resources available. For the purposes of this website, where efficiency is measured it is measuring productive efficiency by comparing funds spent to the output produced (i.e. the volume and complexity of patients).

Effectiveness: Where the care, intervention, or action provided is relevant to the client’s needs and based on established standards. Care, intervention or action achieves desired outcome.

Elective admission: An elective admission is one that could be delayed by at least 24 hours. If an admission meets this definition, it is categorised as elective, regardless of when the admission occurred.

Elective admissions involving surgery: Separation for which the urgency of admission was reported as elective (admission could be delayed by at least 24 hours) and where the assigned AR-DRG was surgical (excluding childbirth-related AR-DRGs).

Elective surgery: Planned surgery that can be booked in advance as a result of a specialist clinical assessment resulting in placement on an elective surgery waiting list. METEOR identifier: 568780.

Elective surgery urgency category: For elective surgery in public hospitals (or for public patients treated in private hospitals), patients are placed on a waiting list and assigned one of three clinical urgency categories by their treating doctor that indicates when their surgery is required. The categories are:

Category 1 – Procedures that are clinically indicated within 30 days.

Category 2 – Procedures that are clinically indicated within 90 days.

Category 3 – Procedures that are clinically indicated within 365 days.

Elective surgery waiting time: When a surgery is elective (planned) and will be conducted in a public hospital (or for public patients treated in private hospitals), patients are placed on a waiting list and assigned an urgency category that indicates the clinically recommended maximum time they should wait for the surgery. The time a patient waits for elective surgery is calculated from the date a patient is placed on the hospital’s waiting list to the date of admission for the surgery. The waiting time is an indication of how easy the service is to access.

Emergency admission: An emergency admission occurs if a patient requires admission within 24 hours. If an admission meets this definition, it is categorised as emergency, regardless of when the admission occurred.

Emergency admissions involving surgery: Separation for which the urgency of admission was reported as emergency (admission required within 24 hours) and where the assigned AR-DRG was surgical (excluding childbirth-related AR-DRGs).

Emergency care services expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on non-admitted patients receiving care through emergency care services. Excludes admitted patients receiving care through the emergency department. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Emergency department (ED): A hospital facility that provides triage, assessment, care, or treatment for non-admitted patients suffering from a medical condition or injury.

Emergency department stay: The period between when a patient presents at an emergency department, and when that person is recorded as having physically departed the emergency department. METEOR identifier: 472757.

Emergency department waiting time to admission: Time elapsed for each patient from presentation to the emergency department to admission to hospital. This is calculated from physical departure date and time minus presentation date and time for those emergency department patients who are admitted.

Emergency department waiting time to clinical care: Time elapsed in minutes for each patient from presentation in the emergency department to the commencement of the emergency department non-admitted clinical care. METEOR identifier: 746119.

Emergency service: Unplanned services provided to patients who are not admitted to the hospital. Used on this website, this does not include services provided in discrete emergency departments.

Emergency (triage category): Used in hospital emergency departments to indicate the urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Emergency (triage category 2) is for conditions that could be life threatening and require prompt attention such as chest pain or possible stroke.

Enrolled nurses: Enrolled nurses are registered with the national registration board to practise in this capacity. Includes general enrolled nurse and specialist enrolled nurse (e.g. mothercraft nurses). METEOR identifier: 620091.

Epilepsy centre: A specialised facility dedicated to seizure characterisation, evaluation of therapeutic regimes, pre-surgical evaluation, and epilepsy surgery for patients with refractory epilepsy.

Episode end status: The status of the patient at the end of the non-admitted patient emergency department service episode. METEOR identifier: 746709.

Episode of admitted patient care: The period of admitted patient care between a formal or statistical admission and a formal or statistical separation, characterised by only one care type (see care type and separation). METEOR identifier: 268956.

Episode of care: A period of health care with a defined start and end. METEOR identifier: 268978.

Error DRGs: AR-DRGs to which separations are grouped if their records contain clinically inconsistent or invalid information.

Enrolled nurses: Enrolled nurses are registered with the national registration board to practise in this capacity. Includes general enrolled nurse and specialist enrolled nurse (e.g. mothercraft nurses). METEOR identifier: 620091.

Establishment type: Type of establishment (defined in terms of legislative approval, service provided, and patients treated) for each separately administered establishment. METEOR identifier: 684439.

Estimated data indicator: An indicator of whether data relating to an establishment have been estimated. METEOR identifier: 757029

External cause: The environmental event, circumstance, or condition as the cause of injury, poisoning and other adverse effect. METEOR identifier: 746659.

Eye surgery: Surgical specialty relating to the eyes and optic nerve. Also referred to as ophthalmic or ophthalmological surgery.

First Nations People: See Indigenous status.

Food supplies expenditure: Expenditure incurred by establishments on all food and beverages but not including kitchen expenses such as utensils, cleaning materials, cutlery and crockery. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Full-time equivalent staff: Full-time equivalent staff units are the on-the-job hours paid for (including overtime), and hours of paid leave of any type for a staff member (or contract employee where applicable), divided by the number of ordinary-time hours normally paid for a full-time staff member when on the job (or contract employee where applicable) under the relevant award or agreement for the staff member (or contract employee occupation where applicable). METEOR identifiers: 620091 and 616025.

Funding source: The source of funds for an admitted patient episode or non-admitted patient service event. Examples include public patient, privately insured, compensable (motor vehicle accident), DVA or Workers Compensation. METEOR identifier: 780491.

Gallbladder removal: Gallbladder removal is a surgical procedure performed to remove gallstones or an infected or inflamed gallbladder.

General Practitioner: General practitioners include Fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM), vocationally registered general practitioners and medical practitioners undertaking approved training. This also includes doctors who are eligible for the Other Medical Practitioners programs run by the Australian Government Department of Health.

General surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on the organs of the abdomen (such as the stomach, intestines, gall bladder, liver and pancreas). General surgeons may also treat diseases of the skin and breast.

Geriatric assessment unit: A facility dedicated to the Commonwealth-approved assessment of the level of dependency of (usually) aged individuals either for purposes of initial admission to a long-stay institution or for purposes of reassessment of dependency levels of existing long-stay institution residents. METEOR identifier: 619809.

Geriatric evaluation and management: Care intended to optimise health and livelihood for (usually) older people, with medical conditions associated with disability and psychosocial problems.

Group session status: An indicator of whether a non-admitted patient service event was delivered in a group. A group must have two or more persons attending in the capacity of patients in their own right. One service event is recorded for each patient who attends a group session. METEOR identifier: 730453.

Haemorrhoidectomy: The removal of haemorrhoids (piles).

Hand hygiene: Hand hygiene is a general term applying to the use of soap/solution (non-antimicrobial or antimicrobial) and water, or a waterless antimicrobial agent to clean the hands and reduce the number of micro-organisms on them.

Heart bypass surgery: In this procedure (also known as coronary artery bypass graft) blood flow through the heart muscle is improved by sewing a healthy blood vessel onto the heart, bypassing a blocked or diseased part of the coronary artery.

Heart failure: Heart failure is a chronic heart condition that occurs when the heart is unable to provide sufficient pressure to maintain blood flow around the body. It includes cardiac shock, which occurs when blood flow to vital organs is inadequate for normal function.

Heart transplantation unit: A specialised facility for heart, including heart lung, transplantation.

Hip replacement: Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant, most commonly due to damage caused by osteoarthritis.

Hospice: See establishment type.

Hospice care unit: A facility dedicated to the provision of palliative care to terminally ill patients. METEOR identifier: 619860.

Hospital: A health care facility established under Commonwealth, state, or territory legislation as a hospital or a free-standing day procedure unit, and authorised to provide treatment and/or care to patients. METEOR identifier: 268971.

Hospital campus: A discrete grouping of co-located hospital facilities within a broader health service.

Hospital expenditure: Recurrent expenditure on public hospital services presented in this report reflects recurrent expenditure on public hospital services incurred by individual hospitals, by local hospital networks (LHNs) and by state and territory health authorities.

Hospitalisation: A hospitalisation is an episode of admitted patient care, 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 (e.g. from acute care to rehabilitation).

Hospital-in-the-home care (HITH): Provision of care to hospital admitted patients in their place of residence as a substitute for hospital accommodation. Place of residence may be permanent or temporary. METEOR identifier: 327308.

Hospital-level data: Refers to statistics at the level of individual hospitals, rather than health service areas, states/territories, or nationally.

Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman’s uterus (or womb). The uterus is the place where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. After a hysterectomy, women no longer have menstrual periods and can’t become pregnant. Sometimes the surgery also removes the ovaries and fallopian tubes. If a woman has both ovaries taken out, she will enter menopause.

In situ: A cancer that has not spread to, or invaded, another part of the body or neighbouring tissues.

In-vitro fertilisation unit: A facility dedicated to the investigation of infertility and provision of in-vitro fertilisation services. METEOR identifier: 619877.

Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) funding designation: The designation given to an establishment by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) related to a type of funding the establishment receives, either Activity based funded, Block funded or Not designated. METEOR identifier: 750529.

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

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

Indicator: A key statistical measure selected to help describe a situation concisely, to track change, progress, and performance, and to act as a guide to decision making.

Infectious diseases unit: A facility dedicated to the treatment of infectious diseases. METEOR identifier: 619888.

Inflation: Inflation refers to changes in prices over time. Inflation can be positive (that is, prices are increasing over time) or negative. There are several different price indexes, suited to different parts of the economy, used to measure inflation. Due to alignment with the scope of the Cost per National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU) measure, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare uses the Australian Bureau of Statistics Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE) hospitals and nursing home deflator when analysing hospital expenditure for the report Hospital resources.

Inguinal herniorrhaphy; Repair of an inguinal hernia (a condition in which part of the intestine protrudes through the muscles in the groin).

Inpatient: See admitted patient.

Intended procedure: The procedure for which a patient has been placed on an elective surgery waiting list. METEOR identifier 759947.

Intensive care unit (level III): A facility dedicated to the care of paediatric and adult patients requiring intensive care and sophisticated technological support services. Defined as being capable of providing complex, multisystem life support for an indefinite period; a tertiary referral centre for patients in need of intensive care services and have extensive backup laboratory and clinical service facilities to support the tertiary referral role. METEOR identifier: 619894.

Interest payments: Payments made by or on behalf of the establishment in respect of borrowings (such as interest on bank overdraft) provided the establishment is permitted to borrow. This does not include the cost of equity capital (dividends on shares) in respect of profit-making private establishments. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Indigenous status: A measure of whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin (First Nations people). METEOR identifier: 785039.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The World Health Organization’s internationally accepted classification of diseases and related health conditions. The 12th edition, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM) is currently in use in Australian hospitals for admitted patients.

Inter-hospital contracted care: An episode of care for an admitted patient whose treatment and/or care is provided under an arrangement (either written or verbal) between a hospital purchaser of hospital care (contracting hospital) and a provider of an admitted service (contracted hospital) and for which the activity is recorded by both hospitals. METEOR identifier: 647105.

Intervention: A clinical intervention that is surgical in nature, carries a procedural risk, carries an anaesthetic risk, requires specialised training and/or requires special facilities or equipment only available in an admitted patient care setting. METEOR identifier: 746669.

Jurisdiction: A state or territory.

Kidney and urinary tract infections: Kidney and urinary tract infections are infections that affect the kidneys or urinary tract, usually caused by bacteria or viruses.

Knee replacement: Knee replacement is a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: Removal of the gallbladder by keyhole surgery. See gallbladder removal.

Lease costs: A lease is an agreement whereby the lessor conveys to the lessee in return for a payment or series of payments the right to use an asset for an agreed period of time. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Legitimate costs: Costs that, although higher, are considered unavoidable due to the characteristics of the patients involved. These include patients requiring treatment in a specialist paediatric facility, psychiatric care, radiotherapy and admission to an intensive care unit, level III. It can also include the increased, unavoidable costs of treating rural and/or remote patients and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Length of stay: The length of stay of an overnight patient is calculated by subtracting the date the patient is admitted from the date of separation and deducting days the patient was on leave. A same-day patient is allocated a length of stay of 1 day. METEOR identifier: 269982.

Licensed bed: A bed in a private hospital, licensed by the relevant state or territory health authority.

Liver transplantation unit: A specialised facility for liver transplantation.

Local Hospital Network (LHN): One of a number of separate legal entities established by each Australian state/territory government in order to devolve operational management for public hospitals, and accountability for local service delivery, to the local level. METEOR identifier: 711144.

Listing date: The date on which a hospital accepts notification that a patient requires elective surgery METEOR identifier 684808.

Maintenance care: Care in which the main intent is to prevent deterioration in the health of a patient with a disability or severe functional impairment.

Maintenance renal dialysis centre: A facility dedicated to maintenance dialysis of renal failure patients. It may be a separate facility (possibly located on hospital grounds) or known as a satellite centre or a hospital-based facility but is not a facility solely providing training services. METEOR identifier: 619920.

Maintenance renal dialysis unit: A specialised facility dedicated to maintenance dialysis of renal failure patients.

Major Diagnostic Categories (MDCs): The classification of diagnoses (and Australian refined diagnosis related groups) by body system or aetiology. METEOR identifier: 269328.

Major plastic/reconstructive surgery unit: A facility dedicated to general purpose plastic and specialised reconstructive surgery, including maxillofacial, microsurgery and hand surgery. METEOR identifier: 619941.

Malignant primary: Refers to the original site of an abnormal growth which is cancerous and may spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant secondary: Refers to a cancerous growth that has appeared in, or spread to, a part of the body that is not the original site.

Median waiting time: The mid-point in waiting times for patients who received elective surgery after being placed on a public waiting list. Half of all patients who received a particular type of elective surgery waited less than or equal to the median number of days, while half were on the list for longer than the median waiting time.

Medical (emergency - admission): Admission to hospital for emergency reasons not involving surgery.

Medical (other - admission): Admission to hospital for non-emergency reasons not involving surgery.

Medical and surgical supplies expenditure: The cost of all consumables of a medical or surgical nature (excluding drug supplies) but not including expenditure on equipment repairs. METEOR identifier: 270358.

Medical consultation clinic: A clinic in which services are provided by a medical or nurse practitioner. There may also be input from allied health personnel and/or clinical nurse specialists.

Medicare Benefits Scheme: The funding source reported for Medicare eligible non-admitted patients presenting at a public hospital outpatient department for whom services are billed to Medicare. Includes both bulk-billed patients and patients with out-of-pocket expenses.

Mental health (admission): Admission to hospital that includes psychiatric care days or that has a mental health care type.

Mental health care: Care in which the primary clinical purpose or treatment goal is improvement in the symptoms and/or psychosocial, environmental and physical functioning related to a patient’s mental disorder.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics.

Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA): Methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is treatable with commonly used antibiotics.

Mode of admission: The mechanism by which a person begins an episode of admitted patient care. METEOR identifier: 269976.

Mode of separation: Status at separation of a person (discharge/transfer/death) and place to which a person is released (where applicable). METEOR identifier: 722644.

Morbidity: Ill health.

Multidisciplinary care: Multidisciplinary care happens when medical, nursing and allied health professionals involved in patients’ treatment hold regular structured meetings to together consider all treatment options and personal preferences of patients and collaboratively develop individual care plans that best meet the needs of patients.

Multi-Purpose Service (MPS): Integrated health and aged care service that provides flexible and sustainable service options for small rural and remote communities.

Myringoplasty: Repair of a hole in the eardrum.

Myringotomy: Surgery performed on the eardrum to relieve pressure caused by built-up fluid.

National average: On this website the term ‘national average’ is not used in a strict statistical sense. Rather, it refers to the mid-point in performance when all hospital activity in Australia is considered together. For emergency department waiting times, the ‘national average’ is the percentage of presentations seen on time across all emergency departments for which data are available. For median elective surgery waiting times, the ‘national average’ is the number of days within which half of all people who received a type of surgery in Australia spent on the waiting list. For elective surgery waits of more than 365 days, the ‘national average’ is the percentage of all people on public waiting lists who received a particular type of surgery after waiting more than 365 days.

National Cabinet: National Cabinet is a forum for the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers to meet and work collaboratively.

National Efficient Price (NEP): The National Efficient Price is a major determinant of the level of Australian Government funding for public hospital services through Activity Based Funding. It establishes a price signal for the efficient cost of providing public hospital services.

National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) 2011 product streams: The product streams relating to the National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) for total recurrent expenditure on the provision of contracted care by health-care services outside of the establishment (public or private, operating internally or externally) incurred by an establishment. METEOR identifiers: 718103.

National Hospital Cost Data Collection (NHCDC): The National Hospital Cost Data Collection (NHCDC) is the primary data collection used to develop the National Efficient Price (NEP) and the National Efficient Cost (NEC). It is a voluntary annual collection of public hospital cost data.

National peer group performance: On this website the term ‘peer group performance’ is the performance of the group of hospitals calculated using all patient-level presentation data for all hospitals in a peer group, i.e. if there are 26 hospitals in a peer group, their combined performance, calculated using patient-level presentation data is the peer group performance.

National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU): The National Weighted Activity Unit was developed by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) to allow different hospital activities to be expressed as a common unit of activity and to set the pricing of public hospital services. The NWAU accounts for the differences in the complexity of patients’ conditions or procedures and individual patient characteristics that lead to increased costs.

Neonatal intensive care unit (level III): A facility dedicated to the care of neonates requiring care and sophisticated technological support. METEOR identifier 619947.

Neurosurgery: Surgery on the brain, spinal cord and nerves. Common procedures include removing tumours and blood clots, treatment of head or spinal injuries, repairing malformed blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord, repairing damaged nerves, and surgical treatment of diseases such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

Neurosurgical unit: A facility dedicated to the surgical treatment of neurological conditions. METEOR identifier: 619953.

Nominal: A nominal measure is one where the effects of inflation have not been accounted for.

Non-acute and sub-acute care: Care types other than ‘acute care’. Includes rehabilitation care, palliative care, certain types of geriatric care, and maintenance care.

Non-admitted: Care provided to a patient who has not undergone a hospital’s formal admission process. Non-admitted care may include outpatient visits and emergency department services.

Non-admitted care (in-scope for NHRA) expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on non-admitted patients receiving services deemed to be in-scope of the National Health Reform Agreement. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Non-admitted care (out of scope for NHRA) expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on non-admitted patients receiving services deemed not to be in-scope of the National Health Reform Agreement. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Non-admitted patient: A patient who does not undergo a hospital’s formal admission process. There are 3 categories of non-admitted patient: emergency department patient, outpatient, and other non-admitted patient (treated by hospital employees of the hospital site—includes community/outreach services). METEOR identifier: 268973.

Non-admitted patient clinics: The organisational units or organisational arrangements through which a hospital provides a service to a non-admitted patient. METEOR identifier: 400598.

Non-admitted patient emergency department service episode: The treatment or care between when a patient presents at an emergency department, and when the non-admitted patient emergency department clinical care ends. METEOR identifier: 746609.

Non-peer: A hospital is labelled non-peer when displayed alongside hospital results in a different peer group. See Peer Group.

Non-salary expenditure (recurrent): Recurrent expenditure incurred by establishments, excluding salaries and wages. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Non-urgent (triage category): Used in hospital emergency departments to indicate the urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Non-urgent (triage category 5) is the least urgent category. It is for problems or illnesses such as cough or cold.

Not ready for care: An indicator of the person’s readiness to begin the process leading directly to being admitted to hospital for the awaited procedure.

Number of beds: The average number of beds available to be used by an admitted patient or resident, or if an average is not available for a given hospital, the number of beds available at 30 June. Equivalent to the statistical measure ‘average available beds’. ‘Available’ means that the bed is staffed and not in a closed ward; it does not necessarily mean that the bed is unoccupied.

Nursing home care unit: A facility dedicated to the provision of nursing home care. METEOR identifier: 619959.

Obstetric/maternity service unit: A facility dedicated to the care of obstetric/maternity patients. METEOR identifier: 619977.

Obstetric services: A specialised facility dedicated to the care of obstetric and maternity patients.

Occasion of service: A distinct visit to a hospital or outpatient clinic where treatment is received. As a person may visit an outpatient clinic in a hospital more than once in a year, the number of occasions of service is not the same as the number of people treated in outpatient clinics.

Oncology unit: A facility dedicated to multidisciplinary investigation, management, rehabilitation and support services and treatment services (including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) for cancer patients. METEOR identifier: 619990.

Ophthalmology: Specialty relating to the eyes and optic nerve.

Orthopaedic surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on the musculoskeletal system. It includes the repair of broken bones and injuries to ligaments and tendons, investigation and repair of damaged joints, and treatment of conditions such as bone and soft tissue tumours, cerebral palsy, back pain and skeletal deformities.

Other administrative expenses: Expenditure incurred by establishments of a management expenses/administrative support nature such as any rates and taxes, printing, telephone, stationery but excluding insurance, workers’ compensation premiums and medical indemnity. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Other admitted care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for other admitted patients, including expenditure associated with maintenance care, but excluding mental health care. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Other aged care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by establishments for other aged care patients, excluding Australian Government-funded aged care patients (such as residential aged care and Multi-Purpose Services). METEOR identifier: 718103.

Other care (out of scope for NHRA) expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on services not reported elsewhere. METEOR identifier: 718103.

Other elective surgery: Elective surgery in which the specialty of the surgeon was not classified as any of the following: cardio-thoracic surgery; ear, nose and throat surgery; general surgery; gynaecological surgery; neurosurgery; eye surgery; orthopaedic surgery; plastic surgery; urological surgery; or vascular surgery.

Other on-costs: The expenditure incurred by establishments on employee-related expenses, excluding salaries, wages and superannuation employer contributions, paid on behalf of establishment either by the establishment, or another organisation such as a state health authority. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Other personal care staff: Includes attendants, assistants or home assistants, home companions, family aides, ward helpers, warders, orderlies, ward assistants and nursing assistants engaged primarily in the provision of personal care to patients or residents, who are not formally qualified or undergoing training in nursing or allied health professions. METEOR identifier: 620091.

Other salaried medical officers: Non-specialist medical officers employed by the establishment on a full-time or part-time salaried basis. This excludes visiting medical officers engaged on an honorary, sessional or fee-for-service basis. This category includes non-specialist salaried medical officers who are engaged in administrative duties regardless of the extent of that engagement (for example, clinical superintendent and medical superintendent). METEOR identifier: 620091.

Other sub-acute and non-acute care: For the purpose of this website, ‘other care type’ refers to geriatric evaluation and management, psychogeriatric care and maintenance care.

Outpatient: See non-admitted patient.

Outpatient service: A hospital service in which patients receive treatment without being admitted. Classification of certain services as ‘outpatient’ varies between hospitals as similar treatments may require admission in some hospitals but not others.

Overdue patient: A patient on an elective surgery waitlist is classified as overdue if ready for care and waiting time at admission or waiting time at a census date is longer than 30 days for patients in clinical urgency Category 1, 90 days for patients in clinical urgency Category 2, or 365 days for patients in clinical urgency Category 3. METEOR identifier: 732461.

Overnight admission: A hospital stay in which the patient spent at least one night in hospital.

Overnight-stay patient: A patient who, following a clinical decision, receives hospital treatment for a minimum of 1 night (that is, who is admitted to and separated from the hospital on different dates).

Paediatric service: A specialised facility dedicated to the care of children aged 14 or less.

Palliative care: Care in which the primary clinical purpose or treatment goal is optimisation of the quality of life of a patient with an active and advanced life-limiting illness.

Palliative care (private provider): Palliative care provided on the campus of a public hospital by a co-located private facility to private patients or where specialists operate from a public hospital under right of private practice arrangements.

Pancreas transplantation unit: A specialised facility for pancreas transplantation.

Patient (emergency department care): A patient refers to a person visiting the emergency department. Each visit is counted separately, so the number of patients is not necessarily the number of different people seen or treated by the ED. See also Presentation.

Patient days (admitted patient care): The total number of days for all patients who were admitted for an episode of care and who separated during a specified reference period. A patient who is admitted and separated on the same day is allocated 1 patient day. METEOR identifier: 270045.

Patient election status: Whether the patient elects to be treated as either a public patient or a private patient. METEOR identifier: 326619.

Patient presentation time at emergency department: The time of patient presentation at the emergency department is the time of first recorded contact with an emergency department staff member. The first recorded contact can be the commencement of the clerical registration or triage process, whichever happens first. METEOR identifier: 746098.

Patient transport cost: The direct cost of transporting patients, excluding salaries and wages of transport staff where payment is made by an establishment. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Payments to visiting medical officers: Payments made by an institutional health care establishment to visiting medical officers for medical services provided to hospital (public) patients on an honorary, sessional or fee-for-service basis. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Peer group: Groupings of hospitals into broadly similar groups in terms of characteristics. This minimises the effect of different hospital size, service provision and rurality when comparing hospitals. METEOR identifier: 769365.

Percentile: Any 1 of 99 values that divide the range of a probability distribution or sample into 100 intervals of equal probability or frequency.

Performance indicator: A statistic or other unit of information that reflects, directly or indirectly, the extent to which an expected outcome is achieved, or the quality of processes leading to that outcome.

Place of occurrence of external cause: The place where the external cause of injury, poisoning or adverse effect occurred. METEOR identifier: 746661.

Plastic surgery: Surgery involving the modification or reconstruction of the visible physical features of the body. It is commonly performed on people who have suffered severe injuries or burns, people who were born with physical malformations, or people whose physical appearance has been affected by a disease.

Potentially preventable hospitalisation (PPH) (selected): Admission to hospital for a condition where 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). It excludes conditions that are preventable predominantly through population health intervention, such as those for clean air and water. The PPH conditions are classified as vaccine-preventable, chronic, and acute. METEOR identifier 740851.

Pre-admission and pre-anaesthesia: Hospital facility for non-admitted patients providing care to patients before surgery.

Presentation (emergency department care): A presentation is when a patient arrives at an emergency department for treatment. As a person may visit an emergency department in a hospital more than once in a year, the number of presentations is not the same as the number of people seen by the department. See also Patient.

Principal diagnosis (emergency department care): The diagnosis established at the conclusion of the patient’s attendance in an emergency department and following considered clinical assessment determined to be mainly responsible for occasioning the attendance. METEOR identifier: 746102.

Private hospital: A privately (non-government) 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 relevant medical and paramedical practitioners. Private acute care and psychiatric hospitals are included in this category as are private free-standing day facilities.

Private patient: Person admitted to a private hospital, or 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 sources: Patients admitted and paid for by motor vehicle accident insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, private health insurance or who are self-funded.

Procedure: See Intervention.

Procedural clinic: A clinic which provides minor surgical and non-surgical procedures (that do not require the patient to be admitted) by a surgeon or other medical specialist.

Prostate removal: Prostate removal is the surgical removal of all or part of the prostate gland.

Prostatectomy: The removal of part or all of the prostate. See prostate removal.

Psychiatric hospital: See establishment type.

Psychiatric unit/ward: A unit/ward dedicated to the treatment and care of admitted patients with psychiatric, mental, or behavioural disorders. METEOR identifier: 620003.

Psychogeriatric care: Care in which the intent is improvement in health, and/or quality of life for a patient with behavioural or psychiatric problems associated with an age-related disorder.

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

Public patient: A person, eligible for Medicare, who receives or elects to receive a public hospital service free of charge. It includes patients in public psychiatric hospitals who do not have the choice to be treated as a private patient. Also includes overseas visitors who are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement, and who elect to be treated as public patients. METEOR identifier: 566080

Qualified days: A newborn qualification status is assigned to each patient day within a newborn episode of care. A newborn patient day is qualified if the infant meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • if they are the second or subsequent live born infant of a multiple birth, whose mother is currently an admitted patient
  • are admitted to an intensive care facility in a hospital, being a facility approved by the Commonwealth Minister for the purpose of the provision of special care
  • are admitted to or remains in hospital without its mother.

A newborn patient day is unqualified if the infant does not meet any of the above criteria. METEOR identifier: 327254.

Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy is the treatment of disease by means of ionizing radiation. MyHospitals data are restricted to external beam megavoltage radiotherapy delivered using linear accelerators.

Radiotherapy (private provider): Radiotherapy provided on the campus of a public hospital by a co-located private facility to private patients or where specialists operate from a public hospital under right of private practice arrangements.

Reason for removal from waiting list: The reason a patient is removed from an elective surgery waiting list. METEOR identifier: 684830.

Recurrent expenditure: Expenditure incurred by organisations on a recurring basis, for the provision of health goods and services. This includes, for example, salaries and wages expenditure and non-salary expenditure such as payments to visiting medical officers. This excludes capital expenditure. METEOR identifier: 542106 and 616005.

Registered nurses: Includes persons with at least a 3-year training certificate and nurses holding post graduate qualifications. Registered nurses must be registered with the national registration board. This is a comprehensive category and includes community mental health, general nurse, intellectual disability nurse, midwife (including pupil midwife), psychiatric nurse, senior nurse, charge nurse (now unit manager), supervisory nurse and nurse educator. This category also includes nurses engaged in administrative duties no matter what the extent of their engagement, for example, directors of nursing and assistant directors of nursing. METeOR identifier: 620091.

Rehabilitation: Care in which the intent is to improve the functional status of a patient with an impairment, disability or handicap.

Rehabilitation unit: A facility designed by the state/territory health authority and dedicated to providing post-acute rehabilitation. METEOR identifier: 620010.

Relative stay index (RSI): The actual number of patient days for acute care separations in selected AR–DRGs divided by the expected number of patient days, adjusted for casemix. An RSI greater than 1 indicates that an average patient’s length of stay is higher than would be expected given the jurisdiction’s casemix distribution.

Remoteness area: A classification of the remoteness of a location using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure. The Australian Statistical Geography Standard-Remoteness Area is a geographical classification which defines locations in terms of relative remoteness, that is, the road distance of a location from the nearest urban centre and locality. METEOR identifier: 747271.

Removal date: Date on which a patient is removed from an elective surgery waiting list.

Renal transplantation unit: A specialised facility for renal transplantation.

Repairs and maintenance expenditure: The costs incurred in maintaining, repairing, replacing and providing additional equipment; maintaining and renovating buildings, and minor additional works. METEOR identifier: 542106.

Resuscitation (triage category): Used in hospital emergency departments to indicate the urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Resuscitation (triage category 1) is the most urgent category. It is for conditions that are immediately life threatening-such as heart attack, severe burns or injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

Salary and wages expenditure: Expenditure on salaries and wages to employees of an establishment. METEOR identifier: 616005.

Same day admission: A hospital stay in which the patient is discharged on the same date as they were admitted.

Same-day patient: An admitted patient who is admitted and separated on the same date.

Satellite site: Services patients receive at a hospital are provided wholly or predominantly by staff from another public hospital.

Semi-urgent (triage category): Used in hospital emergency departments to indicate the urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Semi-urgent (triage category 4) is for conditions including broken arms or legs.

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.

Separations: The total number of episodes of care (hospitalisations) for admitted patients, which can be total hospital stays (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or portions of hospital stays beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation) that cease during a reference period. METEOR identifier: 270407.

Separation rate: The total number of episodes of care for admitted patients divided by the total number of persons in the population under study. Often presented as a rate per 1,000 or 10,000 members of a population. Rates may be crude or standardised.

Separation rate ratio (SRR): The separation rate for 1 population divided by the separation rate of another.

Septoplasty: Elective surgery to straighten the nasal septum (the cartilage and bone between the nostrils). This procedure is often performed on patients who have suffered a broken nose, or who experience recurrent sinus infections or difficulty breathing through their nose.

Service delivery mode: The method of communication between a non-admitted patient and a health-care provider during a service event. METEOR identifier: 732562.

Service delivery setting: The setting in which a service is provided to a non-admitted patient during a service event. METEOR identifier: 730444.

Service event: An interaction between one or more health-care provider(s) with one non-admitted patient, which must contain therapeutic/clinical content and result in a dated entry in the patient’s medical record. METEOR identifier: 652089.

Service Related Group (SRG): A classification based on AR-DRG aggregations for categorising admitted patient episodes into groups representing clinical divisions of hospital activity.

Sleep centre: A facility linked to a sleep laboratory dedicated to the investigation and management of sleep disorders. METEOR identifier: 620026.

Specialised service unit: A facility or unit dedicated to the treatment or care of patients with particular conditions or characteristics, such as an intensive care unit. METEOR identifier: 269612.

Specialist paediatric service unit: A specialised facility dedicated to the care of children aged 14 or under. METEOR identifier: 620033.

Specialist salaried medical officers: Specialist medical officers employed by the hospital on a full-time or part-time salaried basis. This excludes visiting medical officers engaged on an honorary, sessional or fee-for-service basis. This category includes salaried medical officers who are engaged in administrative duties regardless of the extent of that engagement (for example, clinical superintendent and medical superintendent). METEOR identifier: 620091.

Specialist service: Services provided by a hospital that require particular skills, training or equipment.

Special Purpose Accounts and Trust Funds: A set of accounts recorded in a separate general ledger to the hospital’s operating general ledger. The funds are not in trust to any particular person. The Trust Fund at some hospitals account for the income from admitted patients covered by private sources. The set of accounts recording this information may not necessarily be submitted to the National Hospital Cost Data Collection for some hospitals.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus): S. aureus is a type of bacteria, also known as ‘Golden Staph’. The S. aureus bacteria are frequently found on the skin or in the nose of many individuals and are commonly spread from person to person in the community. In this form, they are usually harmless and most people are unaware that they are carrying these bacteria. S. aureus bacteria can also cause an infection of the bloodstream after a patient receives medical care or treatment in hospital. Contracting an S. aureus bloodstream infection while in hospital can be serious and can result in death.

Stay: A period of care in a hospital. For reporting on this website, the term ‘stay’ is synonymous with an ‘episode of admitted patient care’. 

Student nurses: Persons employed by the establishment currently studying in years one to three of a three-year certificate course. This includes any person commencing or undertaking a three-year course of training leading to registration as a nurse by the national registration board. This includes full-time general student nurse and specialist student nurse, such as mental deficiency nurse, but excludes practising nurses enrolled in post-basic training courses. METEOR identifier: 620091.

Superannuation employer contributions: Contributions paid on behalf of establishment employees, by the establishment or a central administration such as a state health authority, to a superannuation fund providing retirement and related benefits to establishment employees. METEOR identifier: 722672.

Surgery: A physical medical intervention, often called an operation, to treat or investigate a disease or injury that is listed in the surgical operations section of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, excluding specific procedures frequently done by non-surgical clinicians. METEOR identifier: 732440.

Surgery (outpatient clinic): Hospital facility for non-admitted patients providing specific procedures for the treatment or investigation of disease or injury.

Surgical (emergency - admission): Admission to hospital for surgery required for emergency reasons.

Surgical (other - admission): Admission to hospital for surgery required for non-emergency reasons.

Surgical specialty: The area of clinical expertise held by the doctor who will perform the elective surgery. METEOR identifier: 689726.

Tier 2 Non-Admitted Services Classification: categorises a hospital’s non-admitted services into classes that are generally based on the nature of the service provided and the type of clinician providing the service.

Tonsillectomy: Removal of the tonsils.

Total hip replacement: Replacement of a diseased hip joint with an artificial implant.

Total knee replacement: Replacement of a diseased knee joint with an artificial implant.

Trainee/pupil nurses: Includes any person commencing or undertaking a 1-year course of training leading to registration as an enrolled nurse on the national registration board (includes all trainee nurses). METEOR identifier: 327190.

Transplantation unit—bone marrow: A facility for bone marrow transplantation. METEOR identifier: 619693.

Transplantation unit—heart, lung: A facility for heart and heart-lung transplantation. METEOR identifier: 619822.

Transplantation unit—liver: A dedicated facility for liver transplantation. METEOR identifier: 619914.

Transplantation unit—pancreas: A facility for pancreas transplantation. METEOR identifier: 619997.

Transplantation unit—renal: A facility for renal transplantation. METEOR identifier: 620019.

Triage category: A category used in the emergency departments of hospitals to indicate the urgency of the 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.

  • Resuscitation (triage category 1)
  • Emergency (triage category 2)
  • Urgent (triage category 3)
  • Semi-urgent (triage category 4)
  • Non-urgent (triage category 5).

METEOR identifier: 746627.

Type of visit: The reason a patient presents to an emergency department. METEOR identifier: 746599.

Uncertain or unknown behaviour: Uncertain or unknown behaviour are the terms used when it is unclear whether a cancerous tissue growth is occurring in a primary or secondary site.

Unit of activity: A measure representing the volume and complexity of patients and increased resource requirements within a hospital.

‘Unqualified’ newborn: a day within a newborn’s hospital stay that does not meet the definition of a ‘qualified’ newborn. 

Unpeered: Hospitals are considered unpeered when, for the purposes of reporting on a particular indicator, they do not possess enough common characteristics to be allocated to a peer group.

Urgent (triage category): Used in hospital emergency departments to indicate the urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Urgent (triage category 3) is for serious but stable conditions, such as wounds or abdominal pain.

Urgent care: Unplanned services provided to patients who are not admitted to the hospital. Used on this website, this does not include services provided in discrete emergency departments.

Urological surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on the organs of the urinary system (such as the kidneys and bladder), and the male reproductive system.

Vaginal delivery: Vaginal delivery is the birth of one or more babies through the birth canal or vagina.

Varicose vein treatment: Sealing off and removal of varicose veins (enlarged veins close to the skin’s surface). This procedure is commonly performed by general surgeons as well as vascular surgeons.

Vascular surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on blood vessels (veins and arteries), except for those in the heart (which are included in cardio-thoracic surgery) and brain (which are included in neurosurgery).

Visiting medical officer: A medical practitioner appointed by the hospital board to provide medical services for hospital (public) patients on an honorary, sessionally paid or fee-for-service basis. METEOR identifier: 327170.

Waiting time at admission/removal: The time elapsed (in days) for a patient on the elective surgery waiting list from the date they were added to the waiting list for the procedure to the date they were removed from the waiting list. METEOR identifier: 732455.

Glossary last updated 07/06/2024