Data sources

National Hospital Morbidity Database

The National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) is a collection of records from admitted patient data collection systems in Australian hospitals. The data supplied to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in the NHMD are based on the National Minimum Data Set (NMDS) for Admitted patient care and include demographic and administrative data, as well as data on the diagnoses of patients, the procedures they underwent in hospital and external causes of injury and poisoning.

The scope of the NMDS is episodes of care for admitted patients in all public and private acute and psychiatric hospitals, free-standing day hospital facilities and alcohol and drug treatment centres in Australia. Hospitals operated by the Australian Defence Force, corrections authorities and in Australia’s offshore territories are not in scope, but some are included.

As noted, the statistical unit for the NHMD is an episode of care, 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 to rehabilitation. The data are collated and reported at the end of the episode of care (i.e., at separation).  The OECD indicators are, however, specified in terms of ‘admissions’ and ‘discharges’. In the analyses presented here using data from the NHMD, all calculations are done on the episodes of care using the separations data. These are broadly equivalent to (but not exactly the same as) admissions/discharges.

Further information about the National Hospitals Data Collection.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) data collection

The Australian Government subsidises the cost of prescription medicines through two schemes, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) for eligible war veterans and their dependants.

Services Australia processes information about all prescriptions dispensed under the PBS and RPBS and provides these data to the Department of Health. The PBS data collection holds information on the medication prescribed, the prescribing practitioner and the characteristics of the person who was prescribed the medicine.

PBS/RPBS data does not include information about the following:

  • private prescriptions, i.e., the medicine is not listed in the PBS Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits
  • ‘over the counter’ medicines
  • medicines supplied to public hospital inpatients.

Further information about the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme data collection.

Patient Experience Survey

 The Patient Experience Survey is conducted annually by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and collects data from a nationally representative sample of people on access and barriers to a range of health care services.

The survey collects data from people aged 15 years and over who accessed health services in the last 12 months, as well as from those who did not, and enables analysis of health service information in relation to particular population groups. Data are also collected on aspects of communication between patients and health professionals.

The 2020–21 and 2021–22 Patient Experience Survey collected information from around 28,800 people across Australia.

Further information about the Patient Experience Survey.

Your Experience of Service (YES) Survey

The Your Experience of Service (YES) survey collects information from people receiving public mental health care about their experience of care. The survey was designed to help Australian mental health services and consumers work together to improve services. It is based on the recovery principles of the 2010 National Standards for Mental Health Services (DoHAC 2010). Three participating Australian states (New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland) (AIHW 2023) provide data to the AIHW under the National Best Endeavours Data Set (YES NBEDS) for the Experience of Service Survey Database.

Further information about the Your Experience of Service (YES) survey.