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.

Medicare Benefits Schedule

Statistics were extracted by the AIHW from the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) claim records data in the Australian Government Department of Health Enterprise Data Warehouse or from online MBS published reports.

The MBS provides a subsidy for services listed in the MBS, for all Australian residents and certain categories of visitors to Australia. The major elements of Medicare are contained in the Health Insurance Act 1973. See details of the services covered by the MBS.

MBS items for pathology tests are subject to episode coning. Episode coning is an MBS funding arrangement that applies to general practitioners ordering more than three items in an episode for a non-hospitalised patient on the same day. Under the coning rule, Medicare benefits are only payable for the three most expensive items. The remaining items are coned out. As a result of the application of this rule, MBS data for some items will not reflect the number of tests performed for non-hospitalised patients.

Pathology services requested for hospitalised patients, or ordered by specialists, are not subject to these coning arrangements. Episode coning was introduced to prevent over servicing by doctors.

For more information, see Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) data collection.

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.

For more information, see the 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.

For more information, see the Physical activity topic, the overweight and obesity topic and the smoking topic.

Further information can also be found in the 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, see the National Hospitals Data Collection, 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).

National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database

The AIHW National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDCD) is a compilation of episode-level records (including waiting times for care) for non-admitted patients registered for care in emergency departments in selected public hospitals. The database only captures information for physical presentations to emergency departments and does not include advice provided via telehealth or videoconferencing.

Patients being treated in emergency departments may be subsequently admitted, including admission in the emergency department, another hospital ward or to hospital-in-the-home. For this reason, there is an overlap in the scope of the NNAPEDCD NMDS and the Admitted Patient Care National Minimum Data Set (APC NMDS).

For more information, see the National Hospitals Data Collection.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Statistics were extracted by the AIHW from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) records data in the Australian Government Department of Health Enterprise Data Warehouse or from published reports.

The Australian Government subsidises the cost of a wide range of medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS). Claims for reimbursement for the supply of PBS- or RPBS-subsidised medicines are submitted by pharmacies through Services Australia for processing and are provided to the Australian Government Department of Health. 

Subsidies for prescription medicines are available to all Australian residents who hold a current Medicare card, and overseas visitors from countries with which Australia has a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement. In general, patients pay a contribution to the cost of the medicine (co-payment), and the Australian Government covers the remaining cost. This remaining cost is referred to as the benefit paid.

PBS data are from records of prescriptions dispensed under the PBS and RPBS, where either:

  • the Australian Government paid a subsidy
  • the prescription was dispensed at a price less than the relevant patient co-payment (under co-payment prescriptions) and did not attract a subsidy.

PBS data cover all PBS prescriptions dispensed by approved suppliers, including community pharmacies, public and private hospital pharmacies and dispensing doctors.

For more information, see Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data collection.


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
Respiratory conditionICD-10 edition codes
All respiratory conditionsJ00-J99

Source: WHO 2019.

For hospital diagnoses and procedures and emergency department (ED) presentations, a classification modified for Australia is used. Hospital data were coded using the ICD-10-AM classification (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Conditions, 10th Revision, Australian Modification) (Table 2).

Table 2: ICD-10-AM codes
Respiratory condition

ICD-10-AM 7th to 11th edition codes





Acute respiratory infection