Coverage: The extent to which records in a database account for all occurrences of a particular event. For example, if there were estimated to be 100,000 events (such as admissions, outpatient occasions of service or emergency department presentations) nationally and 95,000 of these were specifically recorded in a database, the database would be said to have 95% coverage.

Emergency department (ED): A hospital facility that provides triage, assessment, care or treatment for non-admitted patients suffering from a medical condition or injury.

Formal public hospital emergency department (ED): Formal EDs have:

  • a purposely designed and equipped area with designated assessment, treatment and resuscitation areas
  • the ability to provide resuscitation, stabilisation, and initial management of all emergencies
  • availability of medical staff in the hospital 24 hours a day
  • designated ED nursing staff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a designated ED nursing unit manager.

Index of Relative Socioeconomic Disadvantage (IRSD): One of the set of Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas for ranking the average socioeconomic conditions of the population in an area. It summarises attributes of the population such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations.

Presentation: When a patient arrives at an emergency department for treatment. As a person may visit an emergency department in a hospital more than once in a year, the number of presentations is not the same as the number of people seen by the department.

Remoteness area: A classification of the remoteness of a location using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure (2016). The Australian Statistical Geography Standard-Remoteness Area is a geographical classification that defines locations in terms of remoteness, that is, the physical distance of a location from the nearest urban centre.

Time of presentation: Time of first recorded contact with an emergency department staff member. The first recorded contact can be the commencement of the clerical registration or triage process, whichever happens first. METEOR id: 684603.

Triage category: A category used in the emergency departments of hospitals to indicate the urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Patients are triaged into 1 of 5 categories on the Australasian Triage Scale. The triage category is allocated by an experienced registered nurse or medical practitioner. METEOR id: 684872.

  • Resuscitation (triage category 1): the most urgent category. It is for conditions that are immediately life threatening such as heart attack, severe burns or injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Patients in this category should be seen immediately (within seconds) of presenting to the emergency department.
  • Emergency (triage category 2): conditions that could be life-threatening and require prompt attention such as chest pain or possible stroke. Patients in this category should be seen within 10 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
  • Urgent (triage category 3): serious but stable conditions, such as wounds or abdominal pain. Patients in this category should be seen within 30 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
  • Semi-urgent (triage category 4): conditions including broken arms or legs. Patients in this category should be seen within 60 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
  • Non-urgent (triage category 5): the least urgent category. It is for problems or illnesses such as cough or cold. Patients in this category should be seen within 120 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.

Type of visit: The reason the patient presents to an emergency department. METEOR id: 684942.