Most definitions in this glossary contain link to the Metadata Online Register (METeOR), Australia’s central repository for health, community services and housing assistance metadata, or ‘data about data’. It provides definitions for data for topics related to health and community services, and specifications for related national minimum data sets (NMDSs).

addition to an elective surgery waiting list: The process whereby a patient is placed on a public hospital waiting list for elective surgery.

admission: The process whereby the hospital accepts responsibility for the patient’s care and/or treatment. Admission follows a clinical decision based upon specified criteria that a patient requires same-day or overnight care or treatment. METeOR id: 327206

In this report, the term ‘admissions from elective surgery waiting lists’ describes episodes for patients who were admitted for elective surgery as either an elective or emergency admission.

admitted patient: A patient who undergoes a hospital’s admission process to receive treatment and/or care. This treatment and/or care is provided over a period of time and can occur in hospital and/or in the person’s home (for hospital-in-the-home patients). METeOR id: 268957

cardio-thoracic surgery: Surgery performed on the organs inside the chest, in particular the heart and lungs.

cataract extraction: Removal of a lens of the eye affected by a cataract. The diseased lens is then replaced with an artificial one in a procedure called ‘lens insertion’. This is often done at the same time as the cataract extraction.

cholecystectomy: Removal of the gallbladder.

clinical urgency: A clinical assessment of the urgency with which a patient requires elective hospital care. METeOR id: 598034

coronary artery bypass graft: In this procedure blood flow through the heart muscle is improved by sewing a healthy blood vessel onto the heart, bypassing a blocked or diseased part of the coronary artery.

cystoscopy: Examination of the bladder by inserting a cystoscope into the urethra.

elective surgery: Planned surgery that can be booked in advance as a result of a specialist clinical assessment resulting in placement on an elective surgery waiting list. METeOR id: 568780

elective surgery urgency category: For elective surgery in public hospitals, patients are placed on a waiting list and assigned one of three clinical urgency categories by their treating doctor that indicates when their surgery is required. The categories are:

  • Category 1 – Procedures that are clinically indicated within 30 days
  • Category 2 – Procedures that are clinically indicated within 90 days
  • Category 3 – Procedures that are clinically indicated within 365 days

METeOR id: 598034

elective surgery waiting time: When a surgery is elective (planned) and will be conducted in a public hospital, patients are placed on a waiting list and assigned an urgency category that indicates the clinically recommended maximum time they should wait for the surgery. The time a patient waits for elective surgery is calculated from the date a patient is placed on the hospital’s waiting list to the date of admission for the surgery.

general surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on the organs of the abdomen (such as the stomach, intestines, gall bladder, liver and pancreas). General surgeons may also treat diseases of the skin and breast.

gynaecological surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on women’s reproductive organs and fertility.

haemorrhoidectomy: The removal of haemorrhoids (piles).

hospital: A health-care facility established under Australian Government, state or territory legislation as a hospital or a free-standing day procedure unit and authorised to provide treatment and/or care to patients. METeOR id: 268971

hysterectomy: Hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman’s uterus (or womb).

indicator procedure: A medical procedure which is selected for use as a statistical measure to help describe (indicate) hospital performance in a particular area.

inguinal herniorrhaphy: Repair of an inguinal hernia (a condition in which part of the intestine protrudes through the muscles in the groin).

intended procedure: The procedure for which a patient has been placed on an elective surgery waiting list. Waiting list statistics for selected intended procedures give a specific indication of performance in particular areas of elective care provision. METeOR id: 637500

Indigenous status: A measure of whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. This is in accord with the first 2 of 3 components of the Australian Government definition:

An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.
METeOR id: 602543

knee replacement: Surgical procedure in which the knee joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant to relieve pain and disability.

myringoplasty: Repair of a hole in the eardrum.

myringotomy: Surgery performed on the eardrum to relieve pressure caused by built-up fluid.

neurosurgery: Surgery on the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

opthalmology surgery: Surgery on the eye.

orthopaedic surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on the musculoskeletal system. It includes the repair of broken bones and injuries to ligaments and tendons, investigation and repair of damaged joints, and treatment of conditions such as bone and soft tissue tumours, cerebral palsy, back pain and skeletal deformities.

other elective surgery: Elective surgery in which the specialty of the surgeon was not classified as any of the following:

  • Cardio-thoracic surgery
  • Otolaryngology head and neck surgery
  • General surgery
  • Gynaecological surgery
  • Neurosurgery
  • Ophthalmology surgery
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Paediatric surgery
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery
  • Urological surgery
  • Vascular surgery (from 2016–17 onwards).

otolaryngology: Surgical specialty that treats diseases and problems affecting the ears, nose, throat, head and neck.

overdue patient: A patient is classified as overdue if ready for care and waiting time at admission or waiting time at a census date is longer than 30 days for patients in clinical urgency Category 1, 90 days for patients in clinical urgency Category 2, or 365 days for patients in clinical urgency Category 3. METeOR id: 613691

paediatric surgery: Surgery undertaken on children.

peer group: A classification of hospitals into broadly similar groups in terms of characteristics (see Appendix C).

performance indicator: A statistic or other unit of information that reflects, directly or indirectly, the extent to which an expected outcome is achieved, or the quality of processes leading to that outcome.

plastic surgery: Surgery involving the modification or reconstruction of the visible physical features of the body. It is commonly performed on people who have suffered severe injuries or burns, people who were born with physical malformations, or people whose physical appearance has been affected by a disease.

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 paramedical practitioners. Acute care and psychiatric hospitals are included, as are private free-standing day hospital facilities.

prostatectomy: The removal of part or all of the prostate.

public hospital: A hospital controlled by a state or territory health authority. Public hospitals offer free diagnostic services, treatment, care and accommodation to all eligible patients.

public patient: A patient treated at no charge in a public hospital (or provided with care by a private hospital on behalf of a public hospital). METeOR id: 566080

reason for removal from waiting list: The reason a patient is removed from an elective surgery waiting list. METeOR id: 471735

separation: An episode of care for an admitted patient, which can be a total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute care to rehabilitation).
METeOR id: 327268

septoplasty: Elective surgery to straighten the nasal septum (the cartilage and bone between the nostrils).

surgery: where the procedures required by patients are listed in the surgical operations section of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, excluding specific procedures frequently done by non-surgical clinicians. METeOR id: 604410

surgical specialty: The area of clinical expertise held by the doctor who will perform the elective surgery. METeOR id: 605195

tonsillectomy: Removal of the tonsils.

total hip replacement: Surgical procedure in which the hip joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant, due to damage caused by osteoarthritis or fracture.

total knee replacement: Surgical procedure in which the knee joint is replaced by a prosthetic implant to relieve pain and disability.

waiting time at admission/removal: The time elapsed (in days) for a patient on the elective surgery waiting list from the date they were added to the waiting list for the procedure to the date they were removed from the waiting list. METeOR id: 598074

urological surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on the organs of the urinary system (such as the kidneys, bladder, and urethra).

varicose veins treatment: Sealing off and removal, or injection of varicose veins (enlarged veins close to the skin’s surface). This procedure is commonly performed by a general surgeon or vascular surgeon.

vascular surgery: Surgical specialty focusing on blood vessels (veins and arteries).