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 care: For patients admitted to hospital and intended to cure illness, alleviate symptoms of illness or manage childbirth.
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.
additional diagnosis: Conditions or complaints, either coexisting with the principal diagnosis or arising during the episode of admitted patient care (hospitalisation), episode of residential care or attendance at a health-care establishment that require the provision of care. Multiple diagnoses may be recorded.
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. 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 used as an indicator of safety in Australia's health system.
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 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 professionals: For the purpose of this report, allied health professionals 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.
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.
arrest: Incorporates recorded law enforcement action against a person for suspected unlawful involvement in illicit drugs. It incorporates enforcement action by way of arrest, summons, diversion program, cannabis expiation notice (South Australia), cannabis intervention requirement (Western Australia), simple cannabis offence notice (Australian Capital Territory), drug infringement notice (Northern Territory), and notice to appear (Queensland). Some charges may have been subsequently dropped or the defendant may have been found guilty.
arthritis: A group of disorders in which there is inflammation of the joints, which can become stiff, painful, swollen or deformed. The two 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.
attributable burden: The amount of burden that could be avoided if the risk factor were removed.
Australian Government health expenditure: 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.
average length of stay: The average number of patient days for admitted patient episodes. Patients admitted and separated on the same date are allocated a length of stay of 1 day.
avoidable deaths: See potentially avoidable deaths.
back pain and problems: A range of conditions related to the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerves of the back. Back problems are a significant cause of disability and lost productivity.
benchmark: A standard or point of reference for measuring quality or performance.
blindness: There is no set definition for blindness. Usually, it is either a total loss of vision, or when there is no possibility of correcting vision through medical intervention. In Australia, legal blindness is defined as best corrected visual acuity of 6/60 or below in the better eye.
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.
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 expenditure: 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/conditions: 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: This is a collection component of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. It refers to hospitals, aged care facilities (for example, nursing homes and aged care hostels), cared components of retirement villages, and other 'homes' such as group homes for people with disability. The accommodation must include all meals for its occupants and provide 24-hour access to assistance for personal and/or medical needs. To be included in this survey component, a person must have been or expect to be a resident of the cared-accommodation establishment for 3 months or more. Note: this definition applies to this survey 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:
- acute care
- rehabilitation care
- palliative care
- geriatric evaluation and management
- psychogeriatric care
- maintenance care
- newborn care
- other admitted care—that is, where the principal clinical intent does not meet the criteria for any of the above.
Other services include:
- posthumous organ procurement
- hospital boarder.
cataract: A mostly degenerative condition in which the lens of the eye clouds over, obstructing the passage of light to cause vision loss and, potentially, blindness. Cataract surgery involves the removal of the lens, replacing it with a plastic one.
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.
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 one or more sinuses (large air cavities inside the face bones). It occurs when normal draining of the sinuses is obstructed by swelling, excessive mucus, or an abnormality in the structure of the sinuses.
circulatory disease: Alternative name for cardiovascular disease.
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.
comorbidity: When a person has two 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.
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.
core activity limitation: Needing assistance, having difficulties or using aids or equipment to help with self-care, mobility and/or communication. See also disability, severe or profound core activity limitation.
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.
course of radiotherapy: A course of radiotherapy is a series of one or more external beam radiotherapy treatments prescribed by a radiation oncologist. A patient can receive more than one course of radiotherapy at the same time (courses that are simultaneous or overlap). One course of radiotherapy may cover multiple phases and multiple treatment plans.
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.
curative treatment: Curative treatment describes when treatment is given with the intention of curing disease.
DALY: See disability-adjusted life year.
data linkage: The bringing together (linking) of information from two or more different data sources that are believed to relate to the same entity, for example, the same individual or the same institution. This 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 term for disorders that are characterised by worsening mental processes (such as Alzheimer disease or vascular dementia). Symptoms include impaired memory, understanding, reasoning and physical functioning.
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.
detection (illicit drugs): Refers to the detection of a quantity of an illicit drug or a regulated drug at the Australian border by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service. This can be through air or sea cargo, air or sea passengers/crew, or through the postal system.
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 three 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. See peritoneal dialysis.
disability: An umbrella term for any or all of: an impairment of body structure or function, a limitation in activities, or a restriction in participation. Disability is a multidimensional concept, and is considered as an interaction between health conditions and personal and environmental factors. See also core activity limitation and severe or profound core activity limitation.
disability-adjusted life year (DALY): A year of healthy life lost, either through premature death or equivalently through living with 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.
discretionary foods: Foods and drinks not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs, but that may add variety. Many of these are high in saturated fats, sugars, salt and/or alcohol, and are energy dense.
disorder (health disorder): Used synonymously with condition.
ductal carcinoma in situ: A non-invasive tumour of the mammary gland (breast) arising from cells lining the ducts.
dyslipidaemia: abnormal levels of fats, such as cholesterol or triglycerides, in the blood.
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.
emergency status (radiotherapy): An indicator of whether the treatment required for the patient is clinically assessed as an emergency. An emergency is where the treating clinician has assessed the waiting time for treatment cannot exceed 24 hours.
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.
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.
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.
FOBT: See faecal occult blood test.
forceps: Handheld, hinged obstetric instrument applied to fetal head to assist birth.
fourth degree perineal laceration: Perineal laceration, rupture or tear, as in third degree laceration, occurring during delivery and also involving anal mucosa or rectal mucosa.
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.
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, level 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.
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: 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.
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 two 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.
hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: Defined as systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mmHg. Severe hypertension requiring urgent treatment is defined as a systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 170 mmHg with or without diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 110 mmHg.
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 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: 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 one 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 65 and over. This assistance must be ongoing, or likely to be ongoing, for at least 6 months. Note: this definition applies to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers and may differ somewhat from other collections' definitions. See also primary carer.
injury cases: The number of injury separations, less those patients where the mechanism by which a person begins an episode of hospital admission was an inward transfer from another acute care hospital. Admissions of this type (inward transfer) are likely to have been preceded by another admission that also met the criteria for an injury case, so are omitted to reduce over-counting.
Injury separations: A hospitalisation where the main reason for the hospital admission was an injury or poisoning. This includes patients with an injury such as a fracture, laceration or burn to any part of the body, or poisoning. It also includes a small number of admissions mainly due to complications of surgical and medical care.
Instrumental delivery: Vaginal delivery using forceps or vacuum extraction.
insulin: Hormone that is produced by the pancreas and regulates the body's energy sources, most notably the sugar glucose.
intention of treatment (radiotherapy): The intention of treatment is the reason treatment is provided to a patient, as follows:
International Classification of Diseases (ICD): The World Health Organization's internationally accepted classification of death and disease. The 10th revision (ICD-10) is currently i n 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.
Juvenile arthritis (also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis): Inflammatory arthritis in children that begins before the 16th birthday and lasts at least 6 weeks.
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 one person and surgically placed into someone with ESKD. The kidney can come from a live or deceased donor.
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 age.
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): 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 Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Surveys to describe a health condition that has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 6 months. See also chronic diseases.
low birthweight: Weight of a baby at birth that is less than 2,500 grams.
macular degeneration: A progressive deterioration of the macula of the retina (the central inner-lining of the eye). It is often positively related to old age (usually referred to as 'age-related macular degeneration'), and results in a loss of central vision.
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.
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 (or mental health condition): 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.
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.
non-admitted patient: A patient who receives care from a recognised non-admitted patient service/clinic of a hospital, including emergency departments and outpatient clinics.
non-fatal burden: 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-instrumental delivery: Vaginal delivery without instrumental assistance.
non-school qualification: An educational qualification other than that of pre-primary, primary or secondary education. Non-school qualifications include postgraduate degrees, master degrees, graduate diplomas, graduate certificates, bachelor degrees, advanced diplomas, diplomas, and certificates I, II, III and IV (trade certificates).
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.
obstetric haemorrhage (bleeding): Bleeding from the genital tract with an estimated blood loss of >500 mL, with blood loss of >1,000 mL or a blood loss that causes clinical signs of shock. This encompasses both antepartum and postpartum bleeding.
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: The branch of medicine concerned with the study of the eye and the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the eye.
optometry: The practice of primary eye care, including testing for visual acuity and prescribing treatments for eye disorders.
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: A condition that causes bones to become thin, weak and fragile, such that even a minor bump or accident can cause a broken bone.
osteopenia: A condition when bone mineral density is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis.
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.
overnight-stay 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 treatment: Treatment given primarily for the purpose of pain or other symptom control. Consequent benefits of the treatment are considered secondary contributions to quality of life.
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.
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.
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).
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 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
- populations rather than on individuals
- 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: 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. For example, if dying before the age of 75 is considered premature, then a person dying at age 40 would have lost 35 potential years of life.
potentially avoidable deaths: Deaths among people younger than 75 that are avoidable in the context of the present health care system. They include deaths from conditions that are potentially preventable through individualised care and/or treatable through existing primary or hospital care. They are a subset of the premature deaths. The rate of potentially avoidable deaths in Australia is used as an indicator of the health system's effectiveness. Potentially avoidable deaths are classified using nationally agreed definitions. (A revised definition was adopted in the National Healthcare Agreement 2015 leading to differences in the counts and rates of potentially avoidable deaths published previously.)
potentially preventable hospitalisations (PPHs): Hospital separations 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.
premature deaths (or premature mortality): Deaths that occur at a younger age than a selected cut-off. The age below which deaths are considered premature can vary depending on the purpose of the analysis and the population under investigation. In this report, deaths among people aged under 75 are considered premature.
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, with one or more of the core activities of communication, mobility or self-care. In the 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, primary carers only included persons aged 15 and over. Note: this definition applies to this Australian Bureau of Statistics survey and may differ somewhat from other collections' definitions. See also informal carer.
principal diagnosis: The diagnosis established after study to be chiefly responsible for occasioning an episode of patient care (hospitalisation), an episode of residential care or an attendance at the health care establishment.
principal referral hospitals: Provide a broad range of services and have very large patient volumes. Most include an intensive care unit, a cardiac surgery unit, a neurosurgery unit, an infectious diseases unit and a 24-hour emergency department.
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 acute care and psychiatric hospitals as well as private free-standing day hospital facilities.
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.
prophylactic treatment: Treatment given to prevent the occurrence of disease at a site that exhibits no sign of active disease but is considered to be at risk.
psychosocial morbidity: Describes deaths in which a psychiatric condition contributed to the cause of death.
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 eligible patients.
quintile: A group derived by ranking the population or area according to specified criteria and dividing it into five equal parts. The term can also mean the cut-points that make these divisions—that is, the 20th, 40th, 60th and 80th percentiles—but the first use is the more common one. Commonly used to describe socioeconomic groups based on socioeconomic position.
rate: A rate is one number (the numerator) divided by another number (the denominator).The numerator is commonly the number of events in a specified time. The denominator is the population 'at risk' of the event. Rates (crude, age-specific and age-standardised) are generally multiplied by a number such as 100,000 to create whole numbers.
ready-for-care (radiotherapy): The date, in the opinion of the treating clinician, on which a patient is ready to commence treatment. It takes into account things such as the need for prior treatment or post-operative healing and when the patient states they are ready.
recent user (alcohol and other drugs): Used in the last 12 months.
record linkage: See data linkage.
recurrent expenditure: Is spending (expenditure) on goods and services that are used during the year, for example, salaries. It may be contrasted with capital expenditure.
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. The five Remoteness Areas are Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote and Very remote. See also rural.
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.
rural: Geographic areas outside urban areas such as towns and cities. In this report, rural and remote encompasses all areas outside Australia's Major cities according to remoteness classification. In many instances, the term 'rural and remote' is used interchangeably with the classification terms 'regional and remote'.
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.
seizure (illicit drugs): Is the confiscation by a law enforcement agency of a quantity of an illicit drug or a regulated drug being used or possessed unlawfully, whether or not an arrest is made in conjunction with that confiscation. The amount of drug seized may be recorded by weight, volume or as a unit count—for example, number of tablets, plants or bags. The method of estimating the amount of drug seized varies between and within jurisdictions. For example, seizures of amphetamine in tablet form may be weighed or counted.
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.
sepsis: A bacterial infection in the bloodstream or body tissues. This is a very broad term covering the presence of many types of microscopic disease-causing organisms.
severe or profound core activity limitation: A person who needs help or supervision always (profound) or sometimes (severe) to perform activities that most people undertake at least daily—that is, the core activities of self-care, mobility and/or communication. See also core activity limitation and disability.
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 four 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 position: An indication of how 'well off' a person or group is. In this report, socioeconomic groups are mostly reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, typically for five groups (quintiles), from the most disadvantaged (worst off or lowest socioeconomic group) to the least disadvantaged (best off or highest socioeconomic group).
Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA): A set of indexes, created from Census data, that aim to represent the socioeconomic position of Australian communities and identify areas of advantage and disadvantage. The index value reflects the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population of an area; it does not show how individuals living in the same area differ from each other in their socioeconomic group. This report uses the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage.
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 an infection of the bloodstream. When associated with health care procedures these infections are considered to be potentially preventable.
statins: A class of drugs that are commonly used to lower blood cholesterol.
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.
STI: See sexually transmissible infection.
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.
suicidal ideation: Serious thoughts about ending one's own life.
suicidality: The collective term for suicidal ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts.
suicide: Deliberately ending one's own life.
third degree laceration: Perineal laceration, rupture or tear, as in second degree laceration, occurring during delivery and also involving anal floor, rectovaginal septum or sphincter not otherwise specified.
thromboembolism: The obstruction of a blood vessel, usually a large vein, with thrombotic material carried in the blood from its site of origin to block another vessel.
trachoma: An infectious disease of the eye caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. If left untreated, follicles form on the upper eyelids and grow larger until the granulations invade the cornea, eventually causing blindness.
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 Australasian Triage Scale. The triage category is allocated by an experienced registered nurse or medical practitioner.
triglyceride: A compound made up of a single molecule of glycerol and three molecules of fatty acid. Triglycerides are the main constituents of natural fats and oils.
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.
vaccination: The process of administering a vaccine to a person to produce immunity against infection. See immunisation.
vacuum extraction: Assisted birth using traction or rotation on a suction cap applied to the baby's head.
wellbeing: A state of health, happiness, and contentment. It can also be described as judging life positively and feeling good. For public health purposes, physical wellbeing (for example, feeling very healthy and full of energy) is also viewed as critical to overall wellbeing. Because wellbeing is subjective, it is typically measured with self-reports, but objective indicators (such as household income, unemployment levels and neighborhood crime) can also be used.
workforce: People who are employed or unemployed (not employed but actively looking for work). Also known as the 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.