A term used to describe something that comes on sharply and is often brief, intense and severe.
acute care
Care provided to patients admitted to hospital that is intended to cure illness, alleviate symptoms of illness or manage childbirth.
acute myocardial infarction
Life-threatening emergency that occurs when a vessel supplying blood to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked completely by a blood clot.
anxiety disorders
A group of mental disorders marked by excessive feelings of apprehension, worry, nervousness and stress. Includes generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and various phobias.
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.
A condition where there is direct and widespread damage to the heart muscle, weakening it. It can be due to various causes, such as viral infections and severe alcohol abuse. It can lead to an enlarged, thickened and dilated heart as well as heart failure.
cardiovascular disease/condition
Any disease of the cardiovascular system, namely the heart (cardio) or blood vessels (vascular). Includes angina, heart attack, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Also known as circulatory disease.
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.
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.
The amount the patient pays towards the cost of a Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) or Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) subsidised medicine. Patients have different maximum co-payments based on their level of entitlement and safety net status. This does not take into account brand premiums or pharmacists applying the $1 discount. For under co-payment scripts the amount is based on the dispensed price for the quantity of medicine supplied but does not account for any additional fees or discounts applied by pharmacies. For current and historical co-payment amounts see the PBS website.
coronary heart disease
A disease due to blockages in the heart’s own (coronary) arteries, expressed as angina or a heart attack. Also known as ischaemic heart disease.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019)
An infectious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
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.
depressive disorders
A group of mood disorders 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.
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 3 main types of diabetes see type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.
diagnostic imaging
The production of diagnostic images, for example, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, X-rays, ultrasound and nuclear medicine scans.
An artificial method of removing waste substances from the blood and regulating levels of circulating chemicals – functions usually performed by the kidneys.
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.
disorder (health disorder)
A term used synonymously with condition.
emergency department presentation
The presentation of a patient at an emergency department is the earliest occasion of being registered clerically and occurs following the arrival of the patient at the emergency department.
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 each Census. It is based on the usual residence of the person.
general practitioner (GP)
A medical practitioner who provides primary comprehensive and continuing care to patients and their families in the community.
gestational diabetes
A form of diabetes when higher than optimal blood glucose is first diagnosed during pregnancy (gestation). It may disappear after pregnancy but signals a high risk of diabetes occurring later on.
Term relating to whether the body (including 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.
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.
high blood pressure/ hypertension
Definitions can vary. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey 2017–18 measured blood pressure at the time of the interview. High blood pressure was defined as any of the following:

  • systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mmHg
  • diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mmHg
  • receiving medication for high blood pressure.

Note: This only refers to the measurement at the time of the interview and does not necessarily indicate a chronic condition. For this survey, this is distinguished from hypertension which was self-reported as a long-term health condition

An episode of hospital care that starts with the formal admission process and ends with the formal separation process (synonymous with admission and separation). An episode of care can be completed by the patient’s being discharged, being transferred to another hospital or care facility, or dying, or by a portion of a hospital stay starting or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation). Admission date is used to group hospitalisation in this release. Other reports often use separation date to group hospitalisations.
See high blood pressure/ hypertension
A state of feeling unwell, although the term is also often used synonymously with disease.
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
Fatty substances, including cholesterol and triglycerides, which are in blood and body tissues.
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).
Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) data collection
The MBS data collection contains information on services that qualify for a benefit under the Health Insurance Act 1973 and for which a claim has been processed. The database comprises information about MBS claims (including benefits paid), patients and service providers. MBS claims data is an administrative by-product of the Services Australia administration of the Medicare fee-for-service payment system.
Medicare-subsidised services
Refer to services listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule that resulted in a payment of Medicare benefit.
mental health
A state of wellbeing in which the person realises their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and can contribute to the community. Mental health is the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another and their environment in ways that promote subjective wellbeing, optimal development and the use of cognitive, affective and relational abilities.
mental illness (or mental health disorder)
A clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities. The term covers a spectrum of disorders that vary in severity and duration, including anxiety disorders, affective disorders (such as depression), psychotic disorders and substance use disorders.
Information about how data are defined, structured and represented. It makes data files meaningful by describing the information captured in data, and how it is measured and represented.
mood (affective) disorders
A set of psychiatric disorders, also called mood disorders. The main types of affective disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorder. Symptoms vary by individual and can range from mild to severe.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data collection
The PBS data collection contains information on prescription medicines that qualify for a benefit under the National Health Act 1953 and for which a claim has been processed. The database comprises information about PBS scripts and payments, patients, prescribers and dispensing pharmacies. PBS data is an administrative by-product of the Services Australia administration of the PBS Online system.
Atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of 2.5 micrometres (0.0025 millimetres) or less.
prescription pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceutical drugs available only on the prescription of a registered medical or dental practitioner and available only from pharmacies.
An authorisation issued by a medical profession for a patient to be issued a particular medication.
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. Diagnoses are recorded using the relevant edition of the International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, Australian modification (ICD-10-AM).
One number (numerator) divided by another number (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.
respiratory condition
A chronic respiratory condition affecting the airways and characterised by symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough. Conditions include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
specialist services
Services that support people with specific or complex health conditions and issues, who are generally referred by primary health care providers. They are often described as ‘secondary’ health care services. In many cases, a formal referral is required for an individual to be able to access the recommended specialist service.
Fully-qualified physicians who have specialised and work primarily in areas other than general practice. Physicians in training are normally excluded.
An event that occurs when an artery supplying blood to the brain suddenly becomes blocked or bleeds. A stroke often causes paralysis of parts of the body normally controlled by that area of the brain, or speech problems and other symptoms. It is a major form of cerebrovascular disease.
type 1 diabetes
A form of diabetes mostly arising among children or younger adults (but can be diagnosed at any age) and marked by a complete lack of insulin. Insulin replacement is needed for survival. It is a lifelong disease, for which the exact cause is unknown, but believed to be the result of an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. See diabetes (diabetes mellitus).
type 2 diabetes
The most common form of diabetes, is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. The condition has strong genetic and family-related (non-modifiable) risk factors and is also often associated with modifiable risk factors. See diabetes (diabetes mellitus).
Under co-payment pharmaceuticals
Pharmaceuticals listed in the PBS or RPBS, the total costs of which are equal to, or less than, the statutory patient contribution for the class of patient.