Glossary

Some definitions in the Glossary contain an identification number from the Metadata Online Registry (METeOR). METeOR is Australia’s central repository for health, community services and housing assistance metadata, or ‘data about data’. It provides definitions for data for health and community services-related topics and specifications for related national minimum data sets. METeOR can be viewed at <www.aihw.gov.au>.

acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) unit: A facility dedicated to the treatment of AIDS patients. METeOR identifier: 619614. 

activity-based funding: A method of funding health services based on the amount and type of activity. METeOR identifier: 651815.

acute care hospital: See establishment type.

acute renal dialysis unit: A facility dedicated to dialysis of renal failure patients requiring acute care. METeOR identifier: 619627.

acute spinal cord injury unit: A facility dedicated to the initial treatment and subsequent ongoing management and rehabilitation of patients with acute spinal cord injury, largely conforming to Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council guidelines for service provision. METeOR identifier: 619640.

administrative and clerical staff: Staff engaged in administrative and clerical duties. Medical staff and nursing staff, diagnostic and health professionals and any domestic staff primarily or partly engaged in administrative and clerical duties are excluded. Civil engineers and computing staff are included in this category. METeOR identifier: 620091.

administrative expenditure: The expenditure incurred by establishments (but not central administrations) of a management expenses/administrative support nature, such as any rates and taxes, printing, telephone, stationery and insurance (including workers compensation). METeOR identifier: 542106.

administrative expenses—insurance: Expenditure incurred by establishments for the purposes of insurance (excluding workers’ compensation premiums and medical indemnity). METeOR identifier: 542106.

admitted acute care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for admitted patients receiving acute care, including expenditure associated with the care of unqualified newborns (reported under the mother’s episode of care), but excluding mental health care. METeOR identifier: 706373.

admitted mental health care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for admitted patients receiving mental health care defined as care in which the primary clinical purpose or treatment goal is improvement in the symptoms and/or psychosocial, environmental and physical functioning related to a patient's mental disorder. METeOR identifier: 706373.

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 identifier: 268957.

admitted subacute care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for admitted patients receiving subacute care, but excluding mental health care. METeOR identifier: 643188.

alcohol and drug treatment centre: A facility/service dedicated to the treatment of alcohol and drug dependence. METeOR identifier 619655.

Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRGs): An Australian system of diagnosis-related groups (DRGs). DRGs provide a clinically meaningful way of relating the number and type of patients treated in a hospital (that is, its casemix) to the resources required by the hospital. Each AR-DRG represents a class of patients with similar clinical conditions requiring similar hospital services.

average available beds for overnight-stay patients: The number of beds available to provide overnight accommodation for patients—other than neonatal cots (non-special-care) and beds occupied by hospital-in-the-home patients—averaged over the counting period. METeOR identifier: 616014.

average available beds for same-day patients: The number of beds, chairs or trolleys available to provide accommodation for same-day patients, averaged over the counting period. METeOR identifier: 616017.

average length of stay: The average number of patient days for admitted patient episodes.

beds: Public hospital bed numbers and private hospital bed numbers presented in this report are based on different definitions. Public hospital bed numbers are for average available beds—the average number of beds immediately available for use (with staffing). Private hospital bed numbers represent the number of licensed or registered beds. See Chapter 2 for more information.

block-funding: A method of funding health services for which activity-based funding is not applicable due to low volumes, the absence of ‘economies of scale’ or the inability to satisfy the technical requirements of activity-based funding (IHPA 2014).

burns unit (level III): A facility dedicated to the initial treatment and subsequent rehabilitation of severely injured burns patient (usually more than 10% of the patient’s body surface affected). METeOR identifier: 619702.

cardiac surgery unit: A facility dedicated to operative and peri-operative care of patients with cardiac disease. METeOR identifier: 619713.

care type: Defines the overall nature of a clinical service provided to an admitted patient during an episode of care (admitted care), or the type of service provided by the hospital for boarders or posthumous organ procurement (care other than admitted care). METeOR identifier: 584408.

casemix: The range and types of patients (the mix of cases) treated by a hospital or other health service. Casemix classifications (such as AR-DRGs) provide a way of describing and comparing hospitals and other services for management purposes.

clinical genetics unit: A facility dedicated to diagnostic and counselling services for clients who are affected by, at risk of, or anxious about genetic disorders. METeOR identifier: 619723.

Commonwealth funded aged care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for Australian Government-funded aged care patients (such as residential aged care and Multi-Purpose Services). METeOR identifier: 706373.

comprehensive epilepsy centre: A facility dedicated to seizure characterisation, evaluation of therapeutic regimes, pre-surgical evaluation and epilepsy surgery for patients with refractory epilepsy. METeOR identifier: 619743.

constant prices: Constant price expenditure adjusts current prices for the effects of inflation; that is, it aims to remove the effects of inflation. Hence, expenditures in different years can be compared on a dollar–for–dollar basis, using this measure of changes in the volume of health goods and services.

contracted care expenditure: Expenditure on the provision of contracted care by private hospitals incurred by an establishment. METeOR identifier: 684914.

coronary care unit: A facility dedicated to acute care services for patients with cardiac diseases. METeOR identifier: 619758.

current prices: Expenditures reported for a particular year, unadjusted for inflation.

deflator: A deflator is a value (or a set of values) that adjusts current prices for the effects of inflation, resulting in constant prices, in terms of some base period.

depreciation: Depreciation represents the expensing of a long-term asset over its useful life.

depreciation—building: Building depreciation includes depreciation charges for buildings and fixed fit-out such as items fitted to the building (for example, lights and partitions). See non-salary expenditure. METeOR identifier: 542106.

diabetes unit: A facility dedicated to the treatment of patients with diabetes. METeOR identifier: 619769.

diagnostic and allied health professionals: Qualified staff (other than qualified medical and nursing staff) engaged in duties of a diagnostic, professional or technical nature (but also including diagnostic and health professionals whose duties are primarily or partly of an administrative nature). This category includes all allied health professionals and laboratory technicians (but excludes civil engineers and computing staff). METeOR identifier: 620091. See full time equivalent staff.

direct teaching, training and research expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for direct teaching, training and research. METeOR identifier: 706373.

domestic and other staff: Staff engaged in the provision of food and cleaning services including those primarily engaged in administrative duties such as food services manager. Dieticians are excluded. This category also includes all staff not elsewhere included (primarily maintenance staff, trades people and gardening staff). METeOR identifier: 620091.

domestic services expenditure: The cost of all domestic services, including electricity, other fuel and power, domestic services for staff, accommodation and kitchen expenses, but not including salaries and wages, food costs or equipment replacement and repair costs. METeOR identifier: 542106.

domiciliary care service unit: A facility dedicated to the provision of nursing or other professional paramedical care or treatment and non-qualified domestic assistance to patients in their own homes or in residential institutions not part of the establishment. METeOR identifier: 619790.

drug supplies expenditure: The cost of all drugs, including the cost of containers. METeOR identifier: 542106.

elective surgery: Elective care where the procedures required by patients are listed in the  surgical operations section of the Medicare Benefits Schedule, with the exclusion of specific procedures frequently done by non-surgical clinicians. METeOR identifier: 568780.

emergency care services expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on non-admitted patients receiving care through emergency care services. Excludes admitted patients receiving care through the emergency department. METeOR identifier: 706373.

enrolled nurses: Enrolled nurses are registered with the national registration board to practise in this capacity. Includes general enrolled nurse and specialist enrolled nurse (e.g. mothercraft nurses). METeOR identifier: 620091.

establishment type: Type of establishment (defined in terms of legislative approval, service provided and patients treated) for each separately administered establishment. METeOR identifier: 684439.

estimated data indicator: An indicator of whether data relating to an establishment have been estimated. METeOR identifier: 548891. 

food supplies expenditure: Expenditure incurred by establishments on all food and beverages but not including kitchen expenses such as utensils, cleaning materials, cutlery and crockery. METeOR identifier: 542106.

full-time equivalent staff: Full-time equivalent staff units are the on-the-job hours paid for (including overtime), and hours of paid leave of any type for a staff member (or contract employee where applicable), divided by the number of ordinary-time hours normally paid for a full-time staff member when on the job (or contract employee where applicable) under the relevant award or agreement for the staff member (or contract employee occupation where applicable). METeOR identifiers: 620091 and 616025.

geriatric assessment unit: A facility dedicated to the Commonwealth-approved assessment of the level of dependency of (usually) aged individuals either for purposes of initial admission to a long-stay institution or for purposes of reassessment of dependency levels of existing long-stay institution residents. METeOR identifier: 619809.

hospice: See establishment type.

hospice care unit: A facility dedicated to the provision of palliative care to terminally ill patients. METeOR identifier: 619860.

hospital: A health-care facility established under Commonwealth, 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 identifier: 268971.

hospital expenditure: Recurrent expenditure on public hospital services presented in this report reflects recurrent expenditure on public hospital services incurred by individual hospitals, by local hospital networks (LHNs) and by state and territory health authorities

in-vitro fertilisation unit: A facility dedicated to the investigation of infertility and provision of in-vitro fertilisation services. METeOR identifier: 619877.

Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) funding designation: The designation given to an establishment by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority relating to a type of funding the establishment receives. METeOR identifier: 684457.

infectious diseases unit: A facility dedicated to the treatment of infectious diseases. METeOR identifier: 619888.

intensive care unit (level III): A facility dedicated to the care of paediatric and adult patients requiring intensive care and sophisticated technological support services. METeOR identifier: 619894.

interest payments: Payments made by or on behalf of the establishment in respect of borrowings (such as interest on bank overdraft) provided the establishment is permitted to borrow. This does not include the cost of equity capital (dividends on shares) in respect of profit-making private establishments. METeOR identifier: 542106.

lease costs: A lease is an agreement whereby the lessor conveys to the lessee in return for a payment or series of payments the right to use an asset for an agreed period of time. METeOR identifier: 542106.

length of stay: The length of stay of an overnight patient is calculated by subtracting the date the patient is admitted from the date of separation and deducting days the patient was on leave. A same-day patient is allocated a length of stay of 1 day. METeOR identifier: 269982.

licensed bed: A bed in a private hospital, licensed by the relevant state or territory health authority.

local hospital networks: Local hospital networks directly manage single or small groups of public hospital services and their budgets, and are directly responsible for hospital performance. METeOR identifier: 491016.

maintenance renal dialysis centre: A facility dedicated to maintenance dialysis of renal failure patients. It may be a separate facility (possibly located on hospital grounds) or known as a satellite centre or a hospital-based facility but is not a facility solely providing training services. METeOR identifier: 619920.

major plastic/reconstructive surgery unit: A facility dedicated to general purpose plastic and specialised reconstructive surgery, including maxillofacial, microsurgery and hand surgery. METeOR identifier: 619941.

medical and surgical supplies expenditure: The cost of all consumables of a medical or surgical nature (excluding drug supplies) but not including expenditure on equipment repairs. METeOR identifier: 270358.

National Health Reform Agreement (NHRA) 2011 product streams: The different types of care describe total recurrent expenditure broken down by the NHRA product stream (METeOR identifiers: 706373and 679213).

neonatal intensive care unit (level III): A facility dedicated to the care of neonates requiring care and sophisticated technological support. METeOR identifier 619947.

neurosurgical unit: A facility dedicated to the surgical treatment of neurological conditions. METeOR identifier: 619953.

non-admitted care (in-scope for NHRA) expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on non-admitted patients receiving services deemed to be in-scope of the National Health Reform Agreement. METeOR identifier: 706373.

non-admitted care (out of scope for NHRA) expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on non-admitted patients receiving services deemed not to be in-scope of the National Health Reform Agreement. METeOR identifier: 706373.

non-admitted patient: A patient who does not undergo a hospital’s formal admission process. METeOR identifier: 268973.

non-admitted patient clinics: The organisational units or organisational arrangements through which a hospital provides a service to a non-admitted patient. METeOR identifier: 400598.

non-salary expenditure: Includes payments to visiting medical officers, superannuation, drug supplies, medical and surgical supplies (which include consumable supplies only and not equipment purchases), food supplies, domestic services, repairs and maintenance, patient transport, administrative expenses, interest, depreciation, lease costs, other on-costs and other recurrent expenditure. METeOR identifiers: 616030.

non-salary expenditure not elsewhere recorded: The expenditure incurred by establishments on all other recurrent expenditure costs not elsewhere recorded. Gross expenditure should be reported with no revenue offsets (except for inter-hospital transfers). Includes expenditure by the establishment on contracted care arrangements. METeOR identifier: 542106.

nursing home care unit: A facility dedicated to the provision of nursing home care. METeOR identifier: 619959.

obstetric/maternity service unit: A facility dedicated to the care of obstetric/maternity patients. METeOR identifier: 619977.

oncology unit: A facility dedicated to multidisciplinary investigation, management, rehabilitation and support services and treatment services (including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) for cancer patients. METeOR identifier: 619990.

other administrative expenses: Expenditure incurred by establishments of a management expenses/administrative support nature such as any rates and taxes, printing, telephone, stationery but excluding insurance, workers’ compensation premiums and medical indemnity. METeOR identifier: 542106.

other admitted care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment for other admitted patients, including expenditure associated with maintenance care, but excluding mental health care. METeOR identifier: 706373.

other aged care expenditure: Expenditure incurred by establishments for other aged care patients, excluding Australian Government-funded aged care patients (such as residential aged care and Multi-Purpose Services). METeOR identifier: 706373.

other care (out of scope for NHRA) expenditure: Expenditure incurred by an establishment on services not reported elsewhere. METeOR identifier: 706373.

other on-costs: The expenditure incurred by establishments on employee-related expenses, excluding salaries, wages and superannuation employer contributions, paid on behalf of establishment either by the establishment, or another organisation such as a state health authority. METeOR identifier: 542106.

other personal care staff: Includes attendants, assistants or home assistants, home companions, family aides, ward helpers, warders, orderlies, ward assistants and nursing assistants engaged primarily in the provision of personal care to patients or residents; they are not formally qualified or undergoing training in nursing or allied health professions. METeOR identifier: 620091.

other salaried medical officers: Non-specialist medical officers employed by the establishment on a full-time or part-time salaried basis. This excludes visiting medical officers engaged on an honorary, sessional or fee-for-service basis. This category includes non-specialist salaried medical officers who are engaged in administrative duties regardless of the extent of that engagement (for example, clinical superintendent and medical superintendent). METeOR identifier: 620091.

outpatient: See non-admitted patient. METeOR identifier: 268973.

patient transport cost: The direct cost of transporting patients, excluding salaries and wages of transport staff where payment is made by an establishment. METeOR identifier: 542106.

payments to visiting medical officers: Payments made by an institutional health care establishment to visiting medical officers for medical services provided to hospital (public) patients on an honorary, sessional or fee-for-service basis. METeOR identifier: 542106.

peer group: Groupings of hospitals into broadly similar groups in terms of characteristics.

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

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.

psychiatric hospital: See establishment type.

psychiatric unit/ward: A unit/ward dedicated to the treatment and care of admitted patients with psychiatric, mental, or behavioural disorders. METeOR identifier: 620003.

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. See also establishment type.

Public hospital peer groups: Public hospital peer groups categorise hospitals into broadly similar groups in terms of characteristics. Ffor more information, see Appendix C.

recurrent expenditure: Expenditure incurred by organisations on a recurring basis, for the provision of health goods and services. This includes, for example, salaries and wages expenditure and non-salary expenditure such as payments to visiting medical officers. This excludes capital expenditure. METeOR identifier: 542106.

registered nurses: Includes persons with at least a 3-year training certificate and nurses holding post graduate qualifications. Registered nurses must be registered with the national registration board. This is a comprehensive category and includes community mental health, general nurse, intellectual disability nurse, midwife (including pupil midwife), psychiatric nurse, senior nurse, charge nurse (now unit manager), supervisory nurse and nurse educator. This category also includes nurses engaged in administrative duties no matter what the extent of their engagement, for example, directors of nursing and assistant directors of nursing. METeOR identifier: 620091.

rehabilitation unit: A facility designed by the state/territory health authority and dedicated to providing post-acute rehabilitation. METeOR identifier: 620010.

remoteness area: A classification of the remoteness of a location using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure (2016), based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia which measures the remoteness of a point based on the physical road distance to the nearest urban centre.

repairs and maintenance expenditure: The costs incurred in maintaining, repairing, replacing and providing additional equipment; maintaining and renovating buildings, and minor additional works. METeOR identifier: 542106.

salary and wages expenditure: Expenditure on salaries and wages to employees of an establishment. METeOR identifier: 616005.

separations: The total number of episodes of care for admitted patients, which can be total hospital stays (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or portions of hospital stays beginning or ending in a change of type of care (for example, from acute to rehabilitation) that cease during a reference period. METeOR identifier: 270407.

Service Related Group (SRG): A classification based on AR-DRG aggregations for categorising admitted patient episodes into groups representing clinical divisions of hospital activity.

sleep centre: A facility linked to a sleep laboratory dedicated to the investigation and management of sleep disorders. METeOR identifier: 620026.

specialised service unit: A facility or unit dedicated to the treatment or care of patients with particular conditions or characteristics, such as an intensive care unit. METeOR identifier: 269612.

specialist paediatric service unit: A specialised facility dedicated to the care of children aged 14 or under. METeOR identifier: 620033.

specialist salaried medical officers: Specialist medical officers employed by the hospital on a full-time or part-time salaried basis. This excludes visiting medical officers engaged on an honorary, sessional or fee-for-service basis. This category includes salaried medical officers who are engaged in administrative duties regardless of the extent of that engagement (for example, clinical superintendent and medical superintendent). METeOR identifier: 270494 and 620091.

student nurses: Persons employed by the establishment currently studying in years 1 to 3 of a 3-year certificate course. This includes any person commencing or undertaking a three-year course of training leading to registration as a nurse by the national registration board. This includes full-time general student nurse and specialist student nurse, such as mental deficiency nurse, but excludes practising nurses enrolled in post-basic training courses. METeOR identifier: 620091.

superannuation employer contributions: Contributions paid on behalf of establishment employees by the establishment to a superannuation fund providing retirement and related benefits to establishment employees. METeOR identifier: 542106.

trainee/pupil nurses: Includes any person commencing or undertaking a 1-year course of training leading to registration as an enrolled nurse on the national registration board (includes all trainee nurses). METeOR identifier: 620091.

transplantation unit—bone marrow: A facility for bone marrow transplantation. METeOR identifier: 619693.

transplantation unit—heart, lung: A facility for heart and heart-lung transplantation. METeOR identifier: 619822.

transplantation unit—liver: A dedicated facility for liver transplantation. METeOR identifier: 619914.

transplantation unit—pancreas: A facility for pancreas transplantation. METeOR identifier: 619997.

transplantation unit—renal: A facility for renal transplantation. METeOR identifier: 620019.

visiting medical officer: A medical practitioner appointed by the hospital board to provide medical services for hospital (public) patients on an honorary, sessionally paid or fee-for-service basis. METeOR identifier: 620091.