Technical notes

Data sources

Australian Burden of Disease Database

The Australian Burden of Disease Database contains aggregate burden of disease metrics from the Australian Burden of Disease Study (ABDS) undertaken by the AIHW. This includes measures of fatal burden (years of life lost, YLL), non-fatal burden (years lived with disability, YLD) and total burden (disability-adjusted life years, DALY) 

The 2023 study builds on the AIHW's previous burden of disease studies and disease monitoring work and provides Australian-specific estimates for over 200 diseases and injuries in 2023, including comparisons with previous studies. 

The 2018 (ABDS) also provides estimates of how much of the burden can be attributed to 40 different risk factors. Results were published in November 2021. 

For further information see Burden of disease.

Disease Expenditure Database

The AIHW Disease Expenditure Database provides a broad picture of the use of health system resources classified by disease groups and conditions.

It contains estimates of expenditure by the Australian Burden of Disease Study diseases and injuries, age group, and sex for admitted patient, emergency department and outpatient hospital services, out-of-hospital medical services, and prescription pharmaceuticals.

It does not allocate all expenditure on health goods and services by disease – for example, neither administration expenditure nor capital expenditure can be meaningfully attributed to any particular condition due to their nature.

For more information see Disease expenditure in Australia.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey

The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS) is conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to obtain national information on the health of First Nations people, their use of health services and health-related aspects of their lifestyle. The most recent NATSIHS was conducted in 2018–19.

The NATSIHS collects information from First Nations people of all ages in non-remote and remote areas of Australia, including discrete First Nations communities.

Further information can be found in ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey, 2018–19.

National Health Survey

The National Health Survey (NHS) is conducted by the ABS to obtain national information on the health status of Australians, their use of health services and facilities, prevalence of long-term health conditions and health risk factors. The most recent NHS was conducted in 2020–21. It is important to note that the 2020–21 NHS data should be considered a break in time series from previous NHS collections and used for point-in-time national analysis only. The survey was collected during the COVID-19 pandemic, via an online, self-complete form, which significantly changed the data collection and survey estimates. 

The NHS collects self-reported data on whether a respondent had one or more long-term health conditions; that is, conditions that lasted, or were expected to last, 6 months or more.

When interpreting data from the NHS, some limitations need to be considered:

  • Data that are self-reported rely on respondents knowing and providing accurate information.
  • The survey does not include information from people living in nursing homes or otherwise institutionalised.
  • Residents of Very remote areas and discrete First Nations communities were excluded from the survey. This is unlikely to affect national estimates, but will impact prevalence estimates by remoteness.

Further information can be found in National Health Survey: First results, 2017–18.

National Hospital Morbidity Database

The National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) is a compilation of episode-level records from admitted patient morbidity data collection systems in Australian hospitals.

Reporting to the NHMD occurs at the end of a person’s admitted episode of care (separation or hospitalisation) and is based on the clinical documentation for that hospitalisation.

The NHMD is based on the Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set (APC NMDS). It records information on admitted patient care (hospitalisations) in essentially all hospitals in Australia, and includes demographic, administrative and length-of-stay data, as well as data on the diagnoses of the patients, the procedures they underwent in hospital and external causes of injury and poisoning.

The hospital separations data do not include episodes of non-admitted patient care given in outpatient clinics or emergency departments. Patients in these settings may be admitted subsequently, with the care provided to them as admitted patients being included in the NHMD.

The following care types were excluded when undertaking the analysis: 7.3 (newborn – unqualified days only), 9 (organ procurement – posthumous) and 10 (hospital boarder).

Further information about the NHMD can be found in Admitted patient care NMDS 2020–21 and Admitted patient care NMDS 2021–22.

National Mortality Database

The National Mortality Database (NMD) holds records for deaths in Australia from 1964. It comprises information about causes of death and other characteristics of the person, such as sex, age at death, area of usual residence and Indigenous status. The cause of death data are provided to the AIHW by the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages and the National Coronial Information System (managed by the Victorian Department of Justice) and include cause of death coded by the ABS. The data are maintained by the AIHW in the NMD.

Revised and preliminary versions are subject to further revision by the ABS. For data by Indigenous status, the level of identification of Indigenous status is considered sufficient to enable analysis in 5 jurisdictions – New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

The data quality statements underpinning the AIHW NMD can be found in the following ABS publications:

For more information see National Mortality Database (NMD).


Australia uses the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) to code causes of death (WHO 2019). In this report, deaths were coded using the 10th Revision (ICD-10) (Table 1).

Table 1: International Classification of Disease (ICD) codes
MSK ConditionICD-10 edition codes
Rheumatoid arthritisM05-M06
Back problemsM40, M41, M45-M54, M99
All musculoskeletal conditionsM00-M99

Soruce: WHO 2019.

For hospital diagnoses and procedures, a classification modified for Australia is used. Data were coded using the ICD-10-AM classification (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Conditions, 7th to 11th Revision, Australian Modification) (ACCD 2019a), incorporating the Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI) (ACCD 2019b) (Tables 2 to 4).

Table 2: ICD-10-AM codes

Chronic musculoskeletal condition

ICD-10-AM 7th to 11th edition codes




Rheumatoid arthritis




Back Problems


Deforming Dorsopathies



Spondylopathies/other dorsopathies



Other dorsopathies



Biomechanical lesions, not elsewhere classified









Coxarthrosis [arthrosis of hip]



Gonarthrosis [arthrosis of knee]



Arthrosis of first carpometacarpal joint



Other arthrosis



Osteoporosis with pathological fracture



Osteoporosis without pathological fracture



Osteoporosis in diseases classified elsewhere

Table 3: ICD-10-AM codes used in identifying minimal trauma fractures in the AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database

MSK condition

ICD-10-AM 7th to 11th edition codes


Minimal trauma fractures

Hip fracture


Fracture of neck of femur



Pertrochanteric fracture



Subtrochanteric fracture

Shoulder and upper arm fracture


Fracture of shoulder and upper arm

Lower leg including ankle fracture


Fracture of lower leg, including ankle

Lumbar spine and pelvis fracture


Fracture of lumbar spine and pelvis

Forearm fracture


Fracture of forearm

Fractures (all)


Fracture of skull and facial bones



Fracture of neck



Fracture of rib(s), sternum and thoracic spine



Fracture of lumbar spine and pelvis



Fracture of shoulder and upper arm



Fracture of forearm



Fracture at wrist and hand level



Fracture of femur



Fracture of lower leg, including ankle



Fracture of foot, except ankle



Fractures involving multiple body regions



Fracture of spine, level unspecified



Fracture of upper limb, level unspecified



Fracture of lower limb, level unspecified

With a first external cause of:

Minimal trauma falls


Fall on same level involving ice and snow



Fall on same level from slipping, tripping and stumbling



Other fall on same level due to collision with, or pushing by, another person



Fall while being carried or supported by other persons



Fall involving wheelchair; bed; chair; other furniture



Other fall on same level



Unspecified fall

Other minimal trauma events


Striking against or struck by other objects



Hit, struck, kicked, twisted, bitten or scratched by another person



Striking against or bumped into by another person



Other contact with dog

Table 4: The Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI) codes 10th edition codes used in identifying total knee and hip replacement in the AIHW National Hospital Morbidity Database

MSK surgery

ACHI 10th edition codes

Total knee replacement

4951700, 4951800, 4951900, 4953401,
 4952100, 4952101, 4952102, 4952103,
 4952400 and 4952401

Total hip replacement

4931800 and 4931900