Glossary

activity when injured: The type of activity being undertaken by a person at the time of injury.

acute: Having a short and relatively severe course.

acute care: See Care type.

acute care hospital: See Establishment type.

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.

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. See Full-time equivalent staff.

administrative expenditure: All expenditure incurred by establishments (but not central administrations) of a management expense/administrative support nature, such as any rates and taxes, printing, telephone, stationery and insurance expenses (including workers compensation).

admitted patient: A patient who undergoes a hospital's 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).

admitted patient cost proportion: A measure used to calculate the cost per casemix-adjusted separation. It is the ratio of admitted patient costs to total hospital costs, also known as the inpatient fraction or IFRAC.

adverse event: An incident in which harm resulted to a person receiving health care. They include 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.

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

alcohol and drug treatment centre: See Establishment type.

arrival mode—transport: The mode of transport by which the person arrives at the emergency department.

australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI): ACHI was developed by the National Centre for Classification in Health (NCCH). The procedure classification is divided into chapters by anatomical site, and within each chapter by a 'superior' to 'inferior' (head to toe) approach. These subchapters are further divided into more specific procedure blocks, beginning with the least invasive procedure through to the most invasive. The blocks, which are numbered sequentially, group the very specific procedure codes.

australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRGs): An Australian system of diagnosis related groups (DRGs). 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.

available beds: The average number of beds which are immediately available for use by an admitted patient or resident within the establishment. A bed is immediately available for use if it is located in a suitable place for care with nursing and auxiliary staff available within a reasonable period.
From 1 July 2009, superseded by:

  • average available beds for same-day patients and
  • average available beds for overnight-stay patients.

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

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.

average length of stay: The average number of patient days for admitted patient episodes. Patients admitted and separated on the same day are allocated a length of stay of 1 day.

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

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 (care other than admitted care).

Admitted patient care consists of the following categories:

  • Acute care
  • Rehabilitation care—this is where the principal clinical intent does not meet the criteria for any of the above. Care other than admitted care include:
  • Posthumous organ procurement
  • Hospital boarder
  • Palliative care
  • Geriatric evaluation and management
  • Psychogeriatric care
  • Maintenance care
  • Newborn care
  • Other admitted patient care

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.

chronic: Persistent and long-lasting.

clinical urgency: A clinical assessment of the urgency with which a patient requires elective hospital care.

compensable patient: An individual who is entitled to receive or has received a compensation payment with respect to an injury or disease. Compensable patient excludes eligible beneficiaries (Department of Veterans' Affairs), Defence Force personnel and persons covered by the Motor Accident Compensation Scheme, Northern Territory.

condition onset flag: The condition onset flag is a means of differentiating those conditions which arise during, or arose before, an admitted patient episode of care. Having this information can provide an insight into the kinds of conditions patients already have when entering hospital and what arises during the 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.

cost weight: The costliness of an AR-DRG relative to all other AR-DRGs such that the average cost weight for all separations is 1.00. A separation for an AR-DRG with a cost weight of 5.0, therefore, on average costs 10 times as much as a separation with a cost weight of 0.5. There are separate cost weights for AR-DRGs in the public and private sectors, reflecting the differences in the range of costs in the different sectors.

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.

diagnosis related group (DRG): A widely used casemix classification system used to classify admissions into groups with similar clinical conditions (related diagnoses) and similar resource usage. This allows the activity and performance of hospitals to be compared on a common basis. In Australian acute hospitals, Australian Refined DRGs are used.

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). See Full-time equivalent staff.

domestic and other staff: Domestic staff are 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).
See Full-time equivalent staff.

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.

drug supplies expenditure: The cost of all drugs, including the cost of containers.

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.

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).

emergency department waiting time to admission: The time elapsed for each patient from presentation to the emergency department to admission to hospital.

emergency department waiting time to clinical care: The time elapsed for each patient from presentation to the emergency department to commencement of the emergency department non-admitted clinical care. It is calculated by deducting the date and time the patient presents from the date and time of the service event.

emergency occasion of service: A non-admitted patient occasion of service reported to the National Public Hospital Establishments Database with an Emergency services Type of non-admitted patient occasion of service.

enrolled nurses: Enrolled nurses are division 2 nurses who are registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency-Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. Includes general enrolled nurses and specialist enrolled nurses (for example, mothercraft nurses in some states). See Full-time equivalent staff. 

episode end status: The status of the patient at the end of the non-admitted patient emergency department occasion of service.

episode of 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).

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

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

  • Acute care hospitals
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Alcohol and drug treatment centres
  • Hospices

external cause: The environmental event, circumstance or condition as the cause of injury, poisoning and other adverse effect.

full-time equivalent staff: Full-time equivalent staff units are the on-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). Staffing categories include:

  • Salaried medical officers
  • Registered nurses
  • Enrolled nurses
  • Student nurses
  • Other personal care staff
  • Diagnostic and allied health professionals
  • Administrative and clerical staff
  • Domestic and other staff

funding source for hospital patient: The principal source of funds for an admitted patient episode or non-admitted patient service event.

geriatric evaluation and management: See Care type.

group session: A non-admitted occasion of service provided to two or more patients, where all individuals are not members of the same family.

HASAC (Health and Allied Services Advisory Council) ratio: For hospitals where the IFRAC is not available or is clearly inconsistent with the data, admitted patient costs are estimated by the HASAC ratio.

hospice: See Establishment type.

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.

hospital boarder: See Care type.

hospital-in-the-home care: 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.

IFRAC (inpatient fraction): See admitted patient cost proportion

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

indicator procedure: A procedure which is of high volume, and is often associated with long waiting periods. Elective surgery waiting time statistics for indicator procedures give a specific indication of waiting time for these in particular areas of elective care provision.

Indigenous status: A measure of whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. This is in accord with the first two of three components of the Commonwealth definition below: An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.

inpatient: See Admitted patient.

interactive data cubes: A multidimensional representation of data which provides fast retrieval from multiple layers of information.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The World Health Organization's internationally accepted classification of diseases and related health conditions. The 10th revision, 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.

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.

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

maintenance care: See Care type.

major diagnostic categories (MDCs): The category into which the patient's diagnosis and the associated AR-DRG falls. They correspond generally to the major organ systems of the body.

median waiting time: The 50th percentile (the median or the middle value in a group of data arranged from lowest to highest value for time waited) represents the amount of time within which 50% of patients commenced care or were admitted; half the waiting times will have been shorter, and half the waiting times longer, than the median.

For elective surgery waiting times, the median is expressed as a number of days. For emergency department waiting times, the median is expressed as a number of minutes.

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.

mode of admission: The mechanism by which a person begins an episode of admitted patient care.

mode of separation: Status at separation of person (discharge/transfer/death) and place to which person is released (where applicable).

National health data dictionary (NHDD): A biennial publication of all the standardised and accepted terms and protocols used for the collection of health information.

newborn care: See Care type.

non-admitted patient: A patient who does not undergo a hospital's formal admission process. There are three categories of non-admitted patient: emergency department patient; outpatient; and other non-admitted patient (treated by hospital employees off the hospital site-includes community/outreach services).

non-admitted patient occasion of service: Occurs when a patient attends a functional unit of the hospital for the purpose of receiving some form of service, but is not admitted. A visit for administrative purposes is not an occasion of service.

non-salary expenditure: Includes items such as payments to visiting medical officers, superannuation payments, drug supplies, medical and surgical supplies (which includes consumable supplies only and not equipment purchases), food supplies, domestic services, repairs and maintenance, patient transport, administrative expenses, interest payments, depreciation and other recurrent expenditure.

number of days of hospital-in-the-home care: The number of hospital-in-the-home days occurring within an episode of care for an admitted patient. See hospital-in-the-home care.

occasion of service: See Non-admitted patient occasion of service.

other care: See Care type.

other personal care staff: Includes attendants, assistants or home assistance, 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; they are not formally qualified or undergoing training in nursing or allied health professions.
See Full-time equivalent staff.

other recurrent expenditure: Expenditure incurred by organisations on a recurring basis, for the provision of health goods and services (that excludes salary and wages): payments to visiting medical officers; superannuation payments; drug supplies; medical and surgical supplies; food supplies; domestic services; repairs and maintenance; patient transport; administrative expenses; interest payments and depreciation.

other revenue: All other revenue received by the establishment that is not included under patient revenue or recoveries (but not including revenue payments received from state or territory governments). This includes revenue such as investment income from temporarily surplus funds and income from charities, bequests and accommodation provided to visitors.

outpatient: See Non-admitted patient.

outpatient clinic service: An examination, consultation, treatment or other service provided to non-admitted non-emergency patients in a specialty unit or under an organisational arrangement administered by a hospital.

outpatient clinic type: The nature of services which are provided by Outpatient clinic services.

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).

palliative care: See Care type.

patient 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 1 patient day.

patient election status: Accommodation chargeable status elected by patient on admission. The categories are:

  • public patient
  • private patient.

patient presentation at emergency department: The presentation of a patient at an emergency department. It is the earliest occasion of being registered clerically or triaged.

patient revenue: Revenue received by, and due to, an establishment in respect of individual patient liability for accommodation and other establishment charges.

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

payments to visiting medical officers: All payments made by an institutional health care establishment to visiting medical officers for medical services provided to hospital (public) patients on an honorary, sessionally paid or fee-for-service basis.

peer group: Groupings of hospitals into broadly similar groups in terms of characteristics.

percentile: Any one of 99 values that divide the range of probability distribution or sample into 100 intervals of equal probability or frequency.

For example, the 50th percentile waiting time represents the amount of time within which 50% of patients commenced care or were admitted. The 90th percentile data represent the amount of time within which 90% of patients commenced care or were admitted.

performance indicator: A statistic or other unit of information that directly or indirectly, reflect either 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.

posthumous organ procurement: See Care type.

potentially preventable hospitalisation (PPH): 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. 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 admitted patient care.

pre-MDC (Pre-major diagnostic category): AR-DRGs to which separations are grouped, regardless of their principal diagnoses, if they involve procedures that are particularly resource-intensive (transplants, tracheostomies or extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation without cardiac surgery).

presentation: A non-admitted patient emergency department service episode.

principal diagnosis:The diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning an episode of admitted patient care, an episode of residential care or an attendance at the health care establishment.

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 paramedical practitioners. Acute care and psychiatric hospitals are included, as are private free-standing day hospital facilities. See also Establishment type.

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.

procedure: 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 available only in the acute care setting.

psychiatric hospital: See Establishment type.

psychogeriatric care: See Care type.

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. See also Establishment type.

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. This includes separations with a funding source of Health service budget, Other hospital or public authority (with a public patient election status), Health service budget (due to eligibility for Reciprocal health care agreements) and Health service budget-no charge raised due to hospital decision (in public hospitals).

qualified days: The number of qualified days within newborn episodes of care. Days within newborn episodes of care are either qualified or unqualified. This definition includes all babies who are 9 days old or less. A newborn day is qualified (acute) when a newborn meets at least one of the following criteria:

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

radiotherapy: The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours. The radiation source may be applied externally, or internally.

recoveries: All revenue received that is in the nature of a recovery of expenditure incurred. This includes income from provision of meals and accommodation to hospital staff, income from the use of hospital facilities for private practice and some recoveries relating to inter-hospital services.

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.

registered nurses: Registered nurses must be registered as division 1 nurses with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency-Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

This is a comprehensive category and includes community mental health, general nurse, intellectual disability nurse, psychiatric nurse, senior nurse, charge nurse (now unit manager), supervisory nurse and nurse educator. It may also include registered midwives (including pupil midwife). 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. See Full-time equivalent staff.

rehabilitation care: See Care type.

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. An RSI of less than 1 indicates that the number of patient days used was less than would have been expected.

remoteness area: A classification of the remoteness of a location using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure (2011), based on the Accessibility /Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) which measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest urban centre. The categories are:

  • Major cities
  • Inner regional
  • Outer regional
  • Remote
  • Very remote
  • Migratory.

removal from waiting list: The reason a patient is removed from an elective surgery waiting list. The reason-for-removal categories are:

  • Admitted as an elective patient for awaited procedure by or on behalf of this hospital or the state/territory
  • Admitted as an emergency patient for awaited procedure by or on behalf of this hospital or the state/territory
  • Could not be contacted (includes patients who have died while waiting whether or not the cause of death was related to the condition requiring treatment)
  • Treated elsewhere for awaited procedure, but not on behalf of this hospital or the state/territory
  • Surgery not required or declined
  • Transferred to another hospital's waiting list
  • Not known.

repairs and maintenance expenditure: The costs incurred in maintaining, repairing, replacing and providing additional equipment, maintaining and renovating buildings and minor additional works.

salaried medical officers: Medical officers employed by the hospital on a full-time or part-time salaried basis. This excludes visiting medical offices 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). See Full-time equivalent staff.

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

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 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.

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: The separation rate for one population divided by the separation rate of another.

separations: The total number of episodes of care 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.

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

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

student nurses: A person employed by a health establishment who is 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 state or territory 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. See Full-time equivalent staff.

superannuation employer contributions: Contributions paid on behalf of establishment employees either 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.

surgical procedure: A procedure used to define surgical AR-DRGs in version 6.0x (DoHA 2010).

surgical specialty: The area of clinical expertise held by the doctor who will perform the surgery of interest.

trainee nurse: Includes any person commencing or undertaking a 1-year course of training leading to registration as an enrolled nurse by the state/territory registration board.

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 one of five categories on the National Triage Scale. The triage category is allocated by an experienced registered nurse or medical practitioner.

type of non-admitted patient occasion of service: A broad classification of services provided to non-admitted patients, including emergency, dialysis, pathology, radiology and organ imaging, endoscopy, other medical/surgical/diagnostic, mental health, drug and alcohol, dental, pharmacy, allied health, community health, district nursing and other outreach.

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

waiting time at admission: The time elapsed 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 admitted to hospital for the procedure.