Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of death and disease burden in Australia. Monitoring the prevalence of COPD each year is important for assessing the health and economic burden of the condition and to inform health service planning.

There is currently no way to monitor COPD prevalence annually. Instead, current monitoring efforts by the AIHW rely on survey data that are quickly outdated. Linked health administrative data provides a cost-efficient alternative that can be updated regularly.

For the first time, linked data from the National Integrated Health Services Information Analysis Asset (NIHSI AA) have been used to estimate the prevalence of COPD among health service users aged 35 and over in Australia.

People with COPD are identified in the NIHSI AA data through their health service use: dispensing of 2 or more COPD specific prescriptions or at least one diagnosis of COPD in hospital or emergency care data in the year before the 30 June reference date. Details of the methods underlying the COPD prevalence estimates presented in this report are available in the accompanying Technical report.

NIHSI AA estimates provide a valuable source of information to monitor the prevalence of diagnosed COPD that is managed with specific prescriptions or requires emergency or hospital care. People with diagnosed COPD using these health services are an important group for population monitoring to inform health service planning.