Note that terms in bold type in the definitions are themselves glossary items.
abstainer (alcohol): Never consumed a full serve of alcohol.
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander: A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. See also Indigenous.
Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA): The ARIA provides classification of the level of accessibility to goods and services (such as general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) based on the proximity to these services (measured by road distance).
acute: Coming on sharply and often brief, intense and severe.
acute coronary syndrome: Describes an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) and unstable angina when they first present as clinical emergencies with chest pain or other features.
acute hospitals: Public and private hospitals that provide services mainly to admitted patients with acute or temporary ailments. The average length of stay is relatively short.
acute myocardial infarction (AMI): Term still commonly used to mean a heart attack, but more correctly refers only to those heart attacks that have caused some death of heart muscle.
administrative data collection: A data set that results from the information collected for the purposes of delivering a service or paying the provider of the service. This type of collection is usually complete (that is, all in-scope events are collected), but it may not be fully suitable for population-level analysis because the data are collected primarily for an administrative purpose. An example is the Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Services National Minimum Data Set.
admission: An admission to hospital. In this report, the term hospitalisation is used to describe an episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process. In this report, the number of separations has been taken as the number of admissions; hence, admission rate is the same as separation rate.
admitted patient: A patient who undergoes a hospital's formal admission process.
adverse event: An incident involving harm to a person receiving health care. It includes infections, falls and other injuries, and reactions or complications due to surgery and other procedures, medical devices or medication, some of which may be preventable. Adverse events in health care can occur inside or outside hospitals and can be the cause of hospitalisation as well. The rate of adverse events treated in hospital is currently used as an indicator of safety in Australia's health system.
aetiology: The cause or origin of disease.
age-standardisation: A method of removing the influence of age when comparing populations with different age structures. This is usually necessary because the rates of many diseases vary strongly (usually increasing) with age. The age structures of the different populations are converted to the same 'standard' structure, and then the disease rates that would have occurred with that structure are calculated and compared.
age structure: The relative number of people in each age group in a population.
AIDS: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
aids and appliances: Durable medical goods dispensed to ambulatory patients that are used more than once for therapeutic purposes, such as glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and orthopaedic appliances and prosthetics that are not implanted surgically but are external to the user of the appliance. Excludes prostheses fitted as part of admitted patient care in a hospital.
allergic rhinitis (also known as 'hay fever'): Is triggered by an allergic reaction. The symptoms may include a runny or blocked nose and/or sneezing and watery eyes.
allied health practitioners: For the purpose of this report, allied health practitioners are those registered under the National Registration Accreditation Scheme. They include professionals working in psychology, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, radiography, optometry, chiropractic, Chinese medicine, podiatry and osteopathy, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners.
Alzheimer disease: Condition marked by progressive loss of brain power shown by worsening short-term memory, confusion and disorientation. A form of dementia.
ambulatory patients: Patients who are capable of walking; they are not bedridden or confined to a hospital.
angina: Temporary chest pain or discomfort when the heart's own blood supply is inadequate to meet extra needs, as in exercise. See also unstable angina and cardiovascular disease.
antenatal: The period covering conception up to the time of birth. Synonymous with prenatal.
anxiety disorders: A group of mental disorders marked by excessive feelings of apprehension, worry, nervousness and stress. Includes panic disorder, various phobias, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
arthritis: A group of disorders in which there is inflammation of the joints, which can become stiff, painful, swollen or deformed. The 2 main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
associated cause(s) of death: All causes listed on the death certificate, 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.
asymptomatic: Without symptoms.
Australian Government health expenditure: Total expenditure incurred by the Australian Government on its own health programs. It does not include the funding provided by the Australian Government to the states and territories by way of grants under Section 96 of the Constitution.
Australian Government health funding: The sum of Australian Government expenditure and Section 96 grants to states and territories. This also includes the 30%–40% private health insurance premium rebates.
Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC): Common framework defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics for collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. The ASGC was implemented in 1984 and the 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 collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. The ASGS replaced the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) in July 2011.
available beds: Are beds immediately available for use by admitted patients.
average length of stay (ALOS): The average of the length of stay for admitted patient episodes. Calculated by dividing total patient days in a given period by the total number of hospital separations in that period.
avoidable deaths: See potentially avoidable deaths.
benchmark: A standard or point of reference for measuring quality or performance.
bloodborne virus: Any of a group of viruses that are typically passed on to another person by direct contact between the 2 people's blood, such as through sharing drug injecting equipment. Notable examples are hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
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 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.
body mass index (BMI): The most commonly used method of assessing whether a person is normal weight, underweight, overweight or obese (see obesity). It is calculated by dividing the person's weight (in kilograms) by their height (in metres) squared; that is, kg ÷ m2. For both men and women, underweight is a BMI below 18.5, acceptable weight is from 18.5 to less than 25, overweight is from 25 to less than 30, and obese is 30 and over. Sometimes overweight and obese is combined, and is defined as a BMI of 25 and over.
bronchiectasis: An abnormal widening of the lungs' air passages (bronchi). This allows infections to start, and leads to coughing with pus and sometimes blood. It has a number of causes, including cystic fibrosis, reduced immune functioning and infections, such as tuberculosis, whooping cough (pertussis) and measles.
bronchitis: Inflammation of the main air passages (bronchi). May be acute or chronic.
bulk-billing: The process by which a medical practitioner or optometrist sends the bill for services direct to Medicare, so the patients concerned pay nothing. Also known as direct billing.
burden of disease and injury: Term referring to the quantified impact of a disease or injury on an individual or population, using the disability-adjusted life year (DALY) measure.
caesarean birth (also caesarean section or c-section): A method of birth in which a surgical incision is made into the mother's womb via the abdomen to directly remove the baby.
Canadian National Occupancy Standard: A standard used to assess overcrowding in households, based on the number, sex, age, and relationships of household members.
cancer: 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.
capital consumption: The amount of fixed capital used up each year—otherwise known as depreciation.
capital expenditure (spending): Is spending on large-scale fixed assets (for example, new buildings and equipment) with a useful life extending over a number of years.
cardiomyopathy: A condition in which there is direct and widespread damage to the heart muscle, weakening it. The condition can be due to various causes such as viral infections and severe alcohol abuse, and can lead to an enlarged, thickened and dilated heart, as well as heart failure.
cardiovascular disease: Any disease of the circulatory system, namely the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Includes heart attack, angina, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Also known as circulatory disease.
cared accommodation: Hospitals, aged care facilities (for example, nursing homes and aged care hostels), cared components of retirement villages, and other 'homes' such as children's homes if the person has been, or was expected to be, a usual resident of that (or another facility) for 3 months or more. Note, this definition applies to the ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers and may differ somewhat from other collections' definitions.
care type: The care type defines the overall nature of a clinical service provided to an admitted patient during an episode of care (admitted care), or the type of service provided by the hospital for boarders or posthumous organ procurement (other care). Admitted patient care consists of the following categories:
Other services include:
casemix: The range and types of patients (the mix of cases) treated by a hospital or other health service. This provides a way of describing and comparing hospitals and other services for planning and managing health care. Casemix classifications put patients into manageable numbers of groups with similar conditions that use similar health-care resources, so that the activity and cost efficiency of different hospitals can be compared.
cataract: A cloudy or opaque area in the lens of the eye.
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(s) of death and multiple causes of death.
cerebrovascular disease: Any disorder of the blood vessels supplying the brain or its covering membranes. A notable and major form of cerebrovascular disease is stroke.
chemotherapy: The use of drugs (chemicals) to prevent or treat disease, with the term usually being applied to treatment for cancer rather than for other uses.
child: A person aged under 15.
child mortality rate: The number of deaths in a given period among children aged 1–14 per 100,000 children of the same age.
chlamydia: The most common sexually transmissible infection in Australia, caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
cholesterol: See blood cholesterol.
chronic: Persistent and long-lasting.
chronic diseases: Term applied to a diverse group of diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and arthritis, which tend to be long-lasting and persistent in their symptoms or development. Although these features also apply to some communicable diseases (infectious diseases), the term is usually confined to non-communicable diseases.
chronic kidney disease (CKD): Refers to all conditions of the kidney, lasting at least 3 months, where a person has had evidence of kidney damage and/or reduced kidney function, regardless of the specific cause.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Serious, progressive and disabling long-term lung disease where damage to the lungs, usually because of both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, obstructs oxygen intake and causes increasing shortness of breath. By far the greatest cause is cigarette smoking.
chronic sinusitis: The inflammation of the lining of 1 or more sinuses (large air cavities inside the face bones). It occurs when normal draining of the sinuses is obstructed by swelling, excessive mucus, or an abnormality in the structure of the sinuses.
circulatory disease: Alternative name for cardiovascular disease.
colonoscope: See colonoscopy.
colonoscopy: A procedure where the inside of the large bowel (colon) is viewed using a long flexible tube (colonoscope) inserted through the anus.
communicable diseases (infectious diseases): Diseases or illnesses due to infectious organisms or their toxic products. Communication may occur directly or indirectly through contact with other humans, animals or other environments that harbour the organism.
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.
community living: Place of usual residence is a private or non-private dwelling as distinct from residential aged care, hospital or other type of institutional accommodation. Community settings include private dwellings (a person's own home or a home owned by a relative or friend) and certain types of non-private dwellings, for example, retirement village accommodation.
comorbidity: When a person has 2 or more health problems at the same time.
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 or problem.
constant prices: Dollar amounts for different years that are adjusted to reflect the prices in a chosen reference year. This provides a way of comparing spending over time 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. Compare with current prices.
core activity: Term used in discussions of disability, referring to the basic activities of daily living, namely self-care, mobility and communication.
coronary artery bypass graft (CABG): Surgical procedure using blood vessel grafts to bypass blockages in the coronary arteries and restore adequate blood flow to the heart muscle.
coronary artery disease: Describes disease of the coronary arteries, typically meaning atherosclerosis. When this leads to symptoms such as chest pain the result is known as coronary heart disease.
coronary heart disease: Is disease due to blockages in the heart's own (coronary) arteries, expressed as angina or a heart attack. Also known as ischaemic heart disease.
cystic fibrosis: A serious hereditary disease in which mucus from glands is too thick and sticky, affecting the lungs and other organs. The person is prone to frequent chest infections, with related problems such as severe bronchiectasis, and a much shortened life expectancy.
current prices: Dollar amounts reported for a particular year, unadjusted for inflation. Changes in current price expenditures reflect changes in both price and volume. Compare with constant prices.
DALY: See disability-adjusted life year.
data linkage: The bringing together (linking) of information from 2 or more different data sources that are believed to relate to the same entity, for example, the same individual or the same institution. This can provide more information about the entity and in certain cases provide a time sequence, helping to 'tell a story', show 'pathways' and perhaps unravel cause and effect. The term is used synonymously with 'record linkage' and 'data integration'.
dementia: A general and worsening loss of higher brain power, such as memory, understanding and reasoning.
demographics: Statistical data relating to population characteristics, such as age, sex, economic status, education level, and employment status, among others.
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.
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.
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 3 main types of diabetes see type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
dialysis: An artificial method of removing waste substances from the blood and regulating levels of circulating chemicals—functions usually performed by the kidneys.
diphtheria: A bacterial infection that usually starts with soreness of the throat and tonsils but which can also affect other parts of the body and become severe enough to block breathing. It is preventable by vaccination.
disability: Described by WHO as a concept of several dimensions relating to an impairment in body structure or function, a limitation in activities (such as mobility and communication), a restriction in participation (involvement in life situations, such as work, social interaction and education), and the affected person's physical and social environment. Described by the Oxford concise colour medical dictionary (1998) as 'a loss or restriction of functional ability or activity as a result of impairment of the body or mind'.
disability-adjusted life year (DALY): A 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.
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.
disorder (health disorder): Used synonymously with condition.
donovanosis: Infectious disease (previously called granuloma inguinale) caused by the bacteria Chlamydia granulomatis. It features painless genital ulcers with tissue destruction, and can result in secondary infection and scarring.
ductal carcinoma in situ: A non-invasive tumour of the mammary gland (breast) arising from cells lining the ducts.
elective care: Care that, in the opinion of the treating clinician, is necessary and for which admission can be delayed for at least 24 hours.
elective surgery: Elective care in which the procedures required by patients are listed in the surgical operations section of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, with the exclusion of specific procedures frequently done by non- surgical clinicians.
emphysema: A chronic lung disease where over-expansion or destruction of the lung tissue blocks oxygen intake, leading to shortness of breath and other problems.
end-stage kidney disease (ESKD): The most severe form of chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as Stage 5 CKD or kidney failure.
English-speaking background: Includes anyone born in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States of America, Canada, Zimbabwe or South Africa.
epidemic: An outbreak of a disease or its occurrence at a level that is clearly higher than usual, especially if it affects a large proportion of the population.
epidemiology: The study of the patterns and causes of health and disease in populations, and the application of this study to improve health.
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 censuses. It is based on the usual residence of the person. Rates are calculated per 1,000 or 100,000 mid-year (30 June) ERP.
external cause: The term used in disease classification to refer to an event or circumstance in a person's external environment that is regarded as a cause of injury or poisoning.
ex-smoker: A person who has smoked at least 100 cigarettes or equivalent tobacco in his or her lifetime, but does not smoke at all now.
faecal occult blood test (FOBT): A test used to detect tiny traces of blood in a person's faeces that may be a sign of bowel cancer. The test is a core component of Australia's National Bowel Screening Program.
fatal burden: Quantified impact on a population of premature death due to disease or injury. Measured as years of life lost (YLL).
fertility rate: Number of live births per 1,000 females aged 15–49.
fetal death: Birth of a fetus weighing at least 400 grams (or, where birthweight is unavailable, of at least 20 weeks gestation), which shows no signs of life. Commonly referred to as stillbirth.
fetal death rate: Number of fetal deaths per 1,000 total births (fetal deaths plus live births).
financial year: The 12 month period from 1 July to 30 June.
FOBT: See faecal occult blood test.
free-standing day hospital facility: A private hospital where only minor operations and other procedures not requiring overnight stay are performed, and which does not form part of any private hospital providing overnight care.
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—an FTE of 3.
general practitioner (GP): A medical practitioner who provides primary comprehensive and continuing care to patients and their families within the community.
gestational diabetes: A form of diabetes that is first diagnosed during pregnancy (gestation). It may disappear after pregnancy but signals a high risk of diabetes occurring later on.
gonococcal infection: A common sexually transmissible infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
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.
haemodialysis: A form of dialysis where a machine is connected to a person's bloodstream and then filters the blood externally to the body, removing water, excess substances and waste from the blood as well as regulating the levels of circulating chemicals. In doing this the machine takes on the role normally played by the kidneys. Haemodialysis is provided largely in hospitals or satellite dialysis units.
haemorrhagic stroke: A type of stroke caused by the rupturing and subsequent bleeding of an artery in the brain or its surroundings.
HDL cholesterol: Cholesterol packaged in high-density lipoprotein particles. The HDLs are good acceptors of membrane-free cholesterol and transport it back from tissues to the liver.
health: Term relating to whether the body (which includes 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 indicator: See indicator.
health outcome: A change in the health of an individual or population due wholly or partly to a preventive or clinical intervention.
health promotion: Activities to improve health and prevent disease, often described as the process that helps individuals and communities to increase control over the determinants of health.
health status: An individual's or population's overall level of health, taking into account various aspects, such as life expectancy, amount of disability, levels of disease risk factors and so on.
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.
hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, which can be due to certain viral infections, alcohol excess or a range of other causes.
Hib (Haemophilus influenzae type b) infection: A bacterial infection of infants and children that can cause meningitis, pneumonia and other serious effects. It is preventable by vaccination.
high blood cholesterol: refers to total cholesterol levels above 5.5 mmol/L.
high blood pressure/hypertension: The definition of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) can vary but a well-accepted one is from the World Health Organization: a systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more, or [the person is] receiving medication for high blood pressure. Also see blood pressure.
highly specialised drugs: Under Section 100 of the National Health Act, certain drugs (for example cyclosporin) can only be supplied to patients through hospitals because only hospitals can provide the facilities or staff necessary for the appropriate use of the drugs. These drugs are funded by the Australian Government separately from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus.
hospitalisation: Synonymous with admission and separation; that is, an episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process. An episode of care can be completed by the patients being discharged, transferred to another hospital or care facility, or dying, or by a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation).
household: A group of 2 or more related or unrelated people who usually reside 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.
HPV see human papillomavirus
human papillomavirus: The virus that causes genital warts and which is linked in some cases to the development of more serious cervical cell abnormalities.
hypertension: See high blood pressure.
hypertensive disease: Occurs when high blood pressure (hypertension) is severe or prolonged enough to cause damage to the heart, brain or kidneys.
illicit drugs: The term 'illicit drug' can encompass a number of broad concepts including:
illness: A state of feeling unwell, although the term is also often used synonymously with disease.
immunisation: Inducing immunity against infection by the use of an antigen to stimulate the body to produce its own antibodies. See vaccination.
impaired fasting glucose: Blood glucose levels of 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L, which is above normal but less than diabetes levels.
impaired glucose tolerance: Condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but less than required for a diagnosis of diabetes, and which signals an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
impairment: Any loss or abnormality of psychological, physiological or anatomical structure or function.
incidence: The number of new cases (of an illness or event, and so on) occurring during a given period. Compare with prevalence.
Index of Relative Socioeconomic 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 (indicate) a situation concisely, to track change, progress and performance, and to act as a guide to decision-making. It may have an indirect meaning as well as a direct one; for example, Australia's overall death rate is a direct measure of mortality but is often used as a major indicator of population health. Taking this point further, time spent watching TV may be used as 1 indicator of physical inactivity.
Indigenous: A person of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. See also Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
infant: A child aged under 1 year.
infant mortality rate: The number of deaths among children aged under 1 year in a given period, per 1,000 live births in the same period.
inflammation: Local response to injury or infection, marked by local redness, heat, swelling and pain. Can also occur when there is no clear external cause and the body reacts against itself, as in auto-immune diseases.
influenza (flu): An acute contagious viral respiratory infection marked by fevers, muscle aches, headache, cough and sore throat.
informal carer: A person of any age who provides any informal assistance, in terms of help or supervision, to people with disabilities or long-term conditions, or people who are aged 60 and over. This assistance must be ongoing, or likely to be ongoing, for at least 6 months. See also primary carer.
insulin: Hormone that is produced by the pancreas and regulates the body's energy sources, most notably the sugar glucose.
International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The World Health Organization's internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The 10th revision (ICD-10) is currently in use. The Australian modification of the ICD-10 (ICD-10-AM) is used for diagnoses and procedures recorded for patients admitted to hospitals.
intervention (for health): Any action taken by society or an individual which 'steps in' (intervenes) to improve health, such as medical treatment and preventive campaigns.
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 disease. See also ischaemia.
Ischaemic stroke: A type of stroke due to a reduced or blocked supply of blood in the brain. Also known as cerebral infarction.
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 survey participants may have had in the 4 weeks leading up to their interview. The designers recommend only using for people aged 18 and over.
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 ESKD. 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). Note, this definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force Survey and may differ somewhat from other collections' definitions. See also workforce.
length of stay: Duration of hospital stay, calculated by subtracting the date the patient is admitted from the day of separation. All leave days, including the day the patient went on leave, are excluded. A same-day patient is allocated a length of stay of 1 day.
life course: The life course is a series of life stages that people are normally expected to pass through as they progress from birth to death. For this publication, the life course stages are: birth and infancy, childhood, youth, working age, and older Australians.
life expectancy: An indication of how long a person can expect to live, depending on the age they have already reached. Technically, it is the number of years of life remaining to a person at a particular age if death rates do not change. The most commonly used measure is life expectancy at birth.
lifetime risk (alcohol): Defined as the accumulated risk from drinking either on many drinking occasions, or on a regular (for example, daily) basis over a lifetime. The lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury increases with the amount consumed. For healthy men and women, drinking no more than 2 standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.
lipids: Fatty substances, including cholesterol and triglycerides, that are in blood and body tissues.
long-term condition: A term used in the ABS National Health Surveys to describe a health condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 6 months. See also chronic diseases.
long-term oxygen therapy: Administration of oxygen as a medical intervention, prescribed 15 hours or more per day.
low birthweight: Weight of a baby at birth that is less than 2,500 grams.
main English-speaking countries: In the context of people born outside Australia, it includes the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa. A person born in a main English-speaking country is not necessarily fluent in English. Compare with non-main English-speaking countries.
mammogram: 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.
measles: A highly contagious infection, usually of children, that causes flu-like symptoms, fever, a typical rash and sometimes serious secondary problems such as brain damage. It is preventable by vaccination.
median: The midpoint of a list of observations that have been ranked from the smallest to the largest.
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).
mental illness: Disturbances of mood or thought that can affect behaviour and distress the person or those around them, so the person has trouble functioning normally. They include anxiety disorders, depression and schizophrenia.
metabolic syndrome: A collection of conditions that often occur together and can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
metadata: Is often called 'data about data'. It is the underlying definition or structured description of the content, quality, condition or other characteristics of data.
monitoring (of health): 'Monitoring' refers to a process of keeping a continuous 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 the health system and society more generally can plan and respond accordingly. The term is often used interchangeably with surveillance, although surveillance may imply more urgent watching and reporting, such as the surveillance of infectious diseases and their epidemics. Monitoring can also be applied to individuals, such as hospital care where a person's condition is closely assessed over time.
morbidity: Refers to ill health in an individual and to levels of ill health in a population or group.
multiple causes of death: All causes listed on the death certificate. This includes the underlying cause of death and all associated cause(s) of death. See also cause of death.
musculoskeletal: Relating to the muscles, joints and bones.
myocardial infarction: See acute myocardial infarction.
neoplasm: An abnormal ('neo', new) growth of tissue. Can be 'benign' (not a cancer) or 'malignant' (a cancer).
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-communicable (chronic) disease: Diseases or illnesses that are not passed between people. They are generally of long duration and slow to progress.
non-fatal burden: 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 (YLD).
non-Indigenous: People who have declared they are not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. Compare with Other Australians.
non-main English-speaking countries: In the context of people born outside Australia, it includes all countries except the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America and South Africa. A person born in a non-main English-speaking country does not necessarily have poor English-speaking skills. Compare with main English-speaking countries.
nursing homes: See residential aged care facilities.
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.
occasion of service: Occurs when a patient receives some form of service from a functional unit of a hospital, but is not admitted.
occupational lung diseases: These diseases 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.
ophthalmology: A medical specialty dealing with eye diseases.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD): An organisation of 34 countries including Australia, mostly developed and some emerging (such as Mexico, Chile and Turkey); the organisation's aim is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world.
osteoarthritis: A chronic and common form of arthritis, affecting mostly the spine, hips, knees and hands. It first appears from the age of about 30 and is more common and severe with increasing age.
osteoporosis: Thinning and weakening of the bone substance, with a resulting risk of fracture.
Other Australians: People who have declared they are not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, and those for whom their Indigenous status is unknown. Compare with non-Indigenous.
outcome (health outcome): A health-related change due to a preventive or clinical intervention or service. (The intervention may be single or multiple, and the outcome may relate to a person, group or population, or be partly or wholly due to the intervention.)
out-of-pocket costs: The total costs incurred by individuals for health-care services over and above any refunds from Medicare and private health insurance funds.
overcrowding: Where a dwelling requires one or more additional bedrooms to adequately house its inhabitants, according to the Canadian National Occupancy Standard
overnight patient: An admitted patient who receives hospital treatment for a minimum of 1 night (that is, admitted to, and separates from, hospital on different dates).
overweight: Defined for the purpose of population studies as a body mass index of 25 or over. See also obesity.
palliative care: Describes care designed for patients with a terminal illness. The emphasis is on relieving symptoms and achieving the best possible quality of life under the circumstances for the patient, their family and carers.
pandemic: An epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.
Papanicolaou smear: A procedure to detect cancer and pre-cancerous conditions of the female genital tract. This procedure, also called a Pap test or Pap smear is central to Australia's National Cervical Screening Program.
Pap test/Pap smear: See Papanicolaou smear.
pathology: General term for the study of disease, but often used more specifically for diagnostic services which examine specimens, such as samples of blood or tissue.
patient days: The number of full or partial days of stay for patients who were admitted for an episode of care and who underwent separation during the reporting period. A patient who is admitted and separated on the same day is allocated 1 patient day.
patient transport services: Organisations engaged mainly in providing transport of patients by ground or air, along with health (or medical) care. These services are often provided during a medical emergency but are not restricted to emergencies. The vehicles are equipped with life-saving equipment operated by medically trained personnel. Includes public ambulance services or flying doctor services, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and Care Flight. Also includes patient transport programs, such as patient transport vouchers or support programs to assist isolated patients with travel to obtain specialised health care.
performance indicators (of the health system): Measures (indicators) that can relate to the health system as a whole or to parts of it such as hospitals, health centres and so forth. The measures include accessibility, effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability, responsiveness, continuity of care and safety.
perinatal: Pertaining to, or occurring in, the period shortly before or after birth (usually up to 28 days after).
perinatal death: Fetal or neonatal death.
peritoneal dialysis: A form of dialysis where a solution is pumped into the abdominal cavity where the body's own peritoneum—the lining of that cavity—acts as a dialysis filter to remove waste products and water.
pertussis (whooping cough): 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.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS): A national, government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of a wide range of pharmaceutical drugs for all Australians to help them afford standard medications. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Schedule (schedule) lists all the medicinal products available under the PBS and explains the uses for which they can be subsidised.
pneumonia: Inflammation of the lungs as a response to infection by bacteria or viruses. The air sacs become flooded with fluid, and inflammatory cells and affected areas of the lung become solid. Pneumonia is often quite rapid in onset and marked by a high fever, headache, cough, chest pain and shortness of breath.
population attributable fraction (PAF): The proportion (fraction) of a disease, illness, disability or death in a population that can be attributed to a particular risk factor or combination of risk factors. For example, the PAF for cigarette smoking in contributing to lung cancer deaths has been consistently put at about 80% or more in Australia, meaning that if nobody smoked in Australia there would be 80% fewer deaths from lung cancer. Also known as an aetiological (causal) fraction.
population estimates: Official population numbers compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at both state and territory and statistical local area levels by age and sex, at 30 June each year. These estimates allow comparisons to be made between geographical areas of differing population sizes and age structures.
population health: Typically described as 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; on populations rather than on individuals; and on the factors and behaviours that cause illness. In this sense, often used synonymously with public health. Can also refer to the health of particular subpopulations, and comparisons of the health of different populations.
population health survey: Refers to a survey of a sample the population on aspects of health, typically using a questionnaire. The questionnaire may be completed on a computer (either by the respondent or by the interviewer), on paper, or over the telephone. Other information may be collected by taking measurements, and in some cases specimens of blood, urine or saliva are taken for analysis in a pathology laboratory.
potential years of life lost (PYLL): Number of potential years of life lost in a population as a result of premature death.
potentially avoidable deaths: Are deaths below the age of 75 from a specified range of conditions where death is considered to be largely avoidable today, given existing health and social systems. For example, such deaths due to HIV/AIDS, injuries and lung cancer could be avoided through prevention; those due to asthma, appendicitis and a range of other types of cancer could be avoided through treatment; and those through coronary heart disease, stroke and diabetes could be avoided through a combination of prevention and treatment. The rate of potentially avoidable deaths in Australia is currently being used as an indicator of the health system's effectiveness.
potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs): Hospital separations from a specified range of conditions where hospitalisation is considered to be largely preventable if timely and adequate care were provided through population health services, primary care and outpatient services. The PPH conditions are classified as vaccine-preventable, chronic and acute. Respective examples include influenza and pneumonia, diabetes complications and COPD, and dental and kidney conditions. The rate of PPHs is currently being used as an indicator of the effectiveness of a large part of the health system, other than hospital inpatient treatment.
prescription drugs: Pharmaceutical drugs available only on the prescription of a registered medical or dental practitioner and available only from pharmacies.
prevalence: The number or proportion (of cases, instances, and so forth) in a population at a given time. In relation to cancer, refers to the number of people alive who had been diagnosed with cancer in a prescribed period (usually 1-, 5-, 10- or 26-years). Compare with incidence.
prevention (of ill health or injury): Action to reduce or eliminate the onset, causes, complications or recurrence of ill health or injury.
primary carer: A person who provides most of the informal assistance, in terms of help or supervision, to a person with 1 or more disabilities or aged 60 and over in 1 or more of the core activities (communication, mobility and self-care). The 2009 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers included as carers people aged 15 and over who identified themselves as carers or were nominated by a care recipient as a carer. See also informal carer.
principal diagnosis: The diagnosis listed in hospital records to describe the problem that was chiefly responsible for hospitalisation.
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 relevant medical and allied health practitioners. The term includes private free-standing day hospital facilities.
private patient (in hospital): 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 and accommodation.
problem (health problem): Term often used synonymously with condition or disorder. May also be used more specifically to refer to symptoms and other health factors that a person or the doctor perceives as a concern—a problem—that needs attention; and which, for example, the person may record in a survey or their doctor may list in clinical notes to form a 'problem list'.
procedure: A clinical intervention that is surgical in nature, carries a procedural risk, carries an anaesthetic risk, and requires specialist training and/or special facilities or equipment available only in the acute-care setting.
projection: Is not a forecast but simply illustrates changes that would occur if the stated assumptions were to apply over the period in question.
psychiatric hospital: Establishment devoted mainly to the treatment and care of admitted patients with mental illness.
pulmonary rehabilitation: A system of care that includes education, exercise training, nutrition counselling and psychosocial support.
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 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 Australians who need them.
public patient: A patient admitted to a public hospital who has agreed to be treated by doctors of the hospital's choice and to accept shared ward accommodation. This means that the patient is not charged.
quintile: A group derived by ranking the population of people or elements according to specified criteria and dividing it into 5 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.
rate: A rate is 1 number (the numerator) divided by another number (the denominator).The numerator is commonly the number of events in a specified time. The denominator is the population 'at risk' of the event. Rates (crude, age-specific and age-standardised) are generally multiplied by a number such as 100,000 to create whole numbers.
record linkage: See data linkage.
recurrent spending: Is spending (expenditure) on goods and services that are used during the year, for example, salaries. It may be contrasted with capital spending.
relative survival: 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 (usually 5 or 10 years).
remoteness classification: each state and territory is divided into several regions based on their relative accessibility to goods and services (such as general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) as measured by road distance. These regions are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) and defined as Remoteness Areas by either the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (before 2011) or the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) (from 2011 onwards) in each Census year.
residential aged care facilities: Establishments which provide long-term care involving regular basic nursing care to chronically ill, frail, disabled or convalescent people, or senile inpatients. Also known as nursing homes.
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. Can occur in all age groups but most commonly appears between ages 20 and 40. Its causes are not certain but involve auto-immune processes.
risk: The probability of an event occurring during a specified period of time.
risk factor: Any factor that represents a greater risk of a health disorder or other unwanted condition or event. Some risk factors are regarded as causes of disease, others are not necessarily so. Along with their opposites, protective factors, risk factors are known as determinants.
rubella (German measles): A communicable disease of children and young adults which has mild symptoms but which often causes serious birth defects if it occurs in a mother during the first 3 months of pregnancy. It is preventable by vaccination.
satellite dialysis unit: A dialysis unit to provide haemodialysis away from a hospital.
same-day patients: Admitted patients who are admitted to hospital and separated on the same day.
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 seeing them for other reasons, for example, when many doctors routinely measure blood pressure in all patients consulting them.
Section 100 drugs: See highly specialised drugs.
separation: The formal process where a hospital records the completion of an episode of treatment and/or care for an admitted patient. In this report, described by the term hospitalisation.
sexually transmissible infection: An infectious disease that can be passed to another person by sexual contact. Notable examples include chlamydia and gonococcal disease.
single occasion risk (alcohol): A single occasion is defined as a sequence of drinks taken without the blood alcohol concentration reaching zero in between. 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 arising from that occasion.
sleep apnoea: When a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. It has the same cause as snoring—reduced airflow at the back of the mouth—but is more extreme. More common in males and the obese, it leads to poorer mental functioning during the day and a greater risk of accidents.
social determinants of health: The circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics.
socioeconomic status: An indication of how 'well off' a person or group is. In this report, socioeconomic status is mostly reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, typically for 5 groups, from the most disadvantaged (worst off) to the least disadvantaged (best off).
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas: A set of indexes, created from Census data, that aim to represent the socioeconomic status 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 status. This report uses the Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage.
standard drink (alcohol): Containing 10 grams of alcohol (equivalent to 12.5 millilitres of alcohol). Also referred to as a full serve.
Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB): Is a serious bloodstream infection that may be associated with hospital care. As such, it is known as a type of healthcare-associated infection.
statistical significance: An indication from a statistical test that an observed difference or association may be significant or 'real' because it is unlikely to be due just to chance. A statistical result is usually said to be 'significant' if it would occur by chance less than once in 20 times.
statistics (health): Numerical description of a population's health and the factors affecting that health.
STI: See sexually transmissible infection.
stillbirth: See fetal death.
stress: Poorly defined term referring to when a person is under significant psychological or physical pressure—real or perceived, acute or chronic.
stroke: When an artery supplying blood to the brain suddenly becomes blocked or bleeds. Often causes paralysis of parts of the body normally controlled by that area of the brain, or speech problems and other symptoms.
substance use disorder: A disorder of harmful use and/or dependence on illicit or licit drugs, including alcohol, tobacco and prescription drugs.
suicide: Deliberately ending one's own life.
surveillance (for health): See monitoring.
survival: See relative survival.
tetanus: A serious infection in which a bacterial nerve poison causes spasm of the jaw muscles (lockjaw) and body muscles generally. It is caused by a bacterium entering through a wound. The disease is preventable by vaccination.
total fertility rate: Estimate of the average number of children a woman would bear during her lifetime if she experienced current age-specific fertility rates throughout her reproductive life.
Torres Strait Islander: A person of Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as a Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.
triage 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 National Triage Scale. The triage category is allocated by an experienced registered nurse or medical practitioner.
triglyceride: A compound made up of a single molecule of glycerol and 3 molecules of fatty acid. Triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils.
tuberculosis (TB): A bacterial disease that affects the lungs especially, with serious fever-like symptoms and destruction of tissue. It can spread to other parts of the body, causing secondary problems and often death if not treated.
type 1 diabetes: A form of diabetes mostly arising among children or younger adults, marked by a complete lack of insulin and needing insulin replacement for survival.
type 2 diabetes: The most common form of diabetes, occurring mostly in people aged 40 or over, and marked by reduced or less effective insulin.
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: Defined for population studies as a body mass index less than 18.5.
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.
usual residence: Refers to the place where a person has lived or intends to live for a total of 6 months or more.
vaccination: The process of administering a vaccine to a person to produce immunity against infection. See immunisation.
wellbeing: Is a state of health, happiness, and contentment along with security. 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. Wellbeing is typically measured with self-reports, and indicators such as household income, unemployment levels and neighborhood crime can also be used.
workforce: People who are employed or unemployed (not employed but actively looking for work). See also labour force.
whooping cough: See pertussis.
years lived with disability (YLD): YLD is calculated as the prevalence of a condition multiplied by a disability weight for that condition. This is also 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, YLL equals the number of years between premature death and the standard life expectancy for the individual.
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