Indigenous status

The term ‘First Nations people’ is used by the AIHW to refer to persons identified as either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in Australian hospital data and population data collections. The term ‘non-Indigenous Australians’ is used where NHMD records the status is explicitly stated as non-Indigenous.

When calculating First Nations and non-Indigenous rates, records where Indigenous status is missing or not stated are not included in the analysis.

Quality of Indigenous status data

The AIHW report Indigenous identification in hospital separations data: quality report (AIHW 2013) presents the latest findings on the quality of First Nations identification in hospital separations data in Australia, based on studies conducted in public hospitals during 2011. Private hospitals were not included in the assessment. The findings indicate that, overall, the quality of Indigenous identification in hospital separations data was similar to that achieved in a previous study (AIHW 2010). However, the survey for the 2013 report was performed on larger samples for each jurisdiction/region and is therefore considered more robust than the previous study. An estimated 88% of First Nations patients were correctly identified in Australian public hospital admission records in 2011-12 (AIHW 2013). This under counting of First Nations patients is a known issue across states and territories with proportions ranging from 58% (confidence interval, 46-69%) in the Australian Capital Territory and 98% (96-99%) in the Northern Territory over the same time period.