The MyHealthyCommunities website is closing on 30 June 2019

Don’t worry – you can still find the latest information about your local area on the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW)External link, opens in a new window.[] website, along with many more reports and data on a range of health and welfare topics.

Visit the Healthy community indicatorsExternal link, opens in a new window.[] page to use the new interactive tool to explore health topics including health risk factors, cancer, expenditure, and different population groups in your Primary Health Network (PHN) area.

In some cases, the way you find information has changed. If you need help finding anything, please contactExternal link, opens in a new window.[] the AIHW.

Once the MyHealthyCommunities website closes, you will be able to access an archived version through TroveExternal link, opens in a new window.[], the National Library of Australia’sExternal link, opens in a new window.[] web archive. Please note the interactive content will not work in the archived version.


A to D  |  E to M  |  N to P  |  Q to Z

A to D

Actively managed Involves the care and monitoring of a patient's health condition by a GP.
Acute health condition A medical condition that comes on suddenly and lasts for a limited time.
Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) Occurs when there is restricted or totally obstructed blood flow, causing death of muscle in an area of the heart. Commonly referred to as a heart attack.
Acute potentially preventable hospitalisation conditions Acute conditions for which hospitalisation is considered potentially preventable. These conditions include cellulitis, convulsions and epilepsy, dental conditions, ear, nose and throat infections, eclampsia, gangrene, pelvic inflammatory disease, perforated/bleeding ulcer, pneumonia (not vaccine-preventable) and urinary tract infections including pyelonephritis.
Admission The administrative process of becoming a patient in a hospital.
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).
After-hours GP attendance After-hours non-referred GP attendance between patients and medical practitioners (including general practitioners) for the purposes of primary health care.
After-hours emergency department attendance After-hours emergency department (ED) attendances include attendances where the patient presented to an ED on weekdays before 8am and on or after 8pm, Saturdays before 8am and on or after 1pm, Sundays all day and public holidays.
Age standardisation

Age-standardised rates enable the comparison of rates between populations with different age structures by removing the influence of age. This adjustment is important because the rates of many health conditions and health service use vary with age. Refer to the relevant report's Technical Supplement for more information on the methodology used.

Allied health professional A health professional who is not a doctor, nurse or dentist; the term includes physiotherapists, psychologists and dieticians.
Ambulatory care sensitive condition See Potentially preventable hospitalisation.
Angina Angina is chest pain or discomfort caused by insufficient oxygen-rich blood flow to the muscle of the heart.
Antenatal The period covering conception up to the time of birth. Synonymous with prenatal.
Antenatal visit Antenatal visit is a planned visit between a pregnant woman and a midwife or doctor to assess and improve the wellbeing of the mother and baby throughout pregnancy. It does not include visits where the sole purpose is to confirm the pregnancy.
Anxiety disorder Clinically significant anxiety that is not restricted to any particular situation, including anxiety neurosis and panic disorder, with or without physical symptoms.
Arthritis A chronic disease of the joints. Common forms include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Asthma A chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing, a feeling of constriction in the chest, shortness of breath and coughing.
Attendance See GP attendance, Specialist attendance, ED attendance, Consultation and Visit.
Bed days The sum of the number of days from admission to separation for all relevant hospitalisations. Hospitalisations where the admission and separation occur on the same date are allocated one bed day, and leave days are excluded.
Birth A birth is counted when a fetus of at least 20 weeks' gestation or weighing 400 grams or more is born. The fetus can be liveborn or stillborn.
Birthweight The first weight of the baby (stillborn or liveborn) obtained after birth (usually measured to the nearest 5 grams and obtained within 1 hour of birth).
Body mass index (BMI) BMI scores are calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared. BMI is a common measure for classifying whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese.
Bronchiectasis Bronchiectasis is a common lung disease characterised by chronic infection in small airways that results in some parts of the lung becoming damaged, scarred and dilated, allowing infected mucous to build up. Many patients who develop bronchiectasis have been smokers who also have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Bulk billing When a doctor or other provider accepts the Medicare benefit as full payment for a service. When a doctor bulk bills, they cannot charge the patient for any other costs related to that service, such as bandages etc.
Cancer General term covering a variety of malignancies, whereby gene damage causes cells to multiply, invade and spread without control.
Cardiovascular Relating to the heart, blood vessels and circulation.
Care setting The setting in which a patient receives their GP care. In the Coordination of Health Care Study, this includes either a usual GP only, a usual place of care only, or both a usual GP and place of care.
Cellulitis Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and underlying tissue, which is usually treated with antibiotics.
Cerebrovascular accident Commonly known as a stroke, whereby a cerebral haemorrhage causes brain damage or, blockage of cerebral vessels which restricts or stops blood flow to the brain resulting in death of brain cells.
Cerebrovascular disease Refers to a group of conditions that affect the circulation of the blood to the brain, causing limited or no blood flow to affected areas of the brain. A notable form of cerebrovascular disease is stroke.
Chronic back pain Refers to pain in the spine of three months or more and outlasting the usual healing process.
Chronic condition A medical condition characterised by a combination of the following characteristics: duration that has lasted or is expected to last 6 months or more, a pattern of recurrence or deterioration, a poor prognosis, and consequences that impact on an individual's quality of life.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) COPD is a group of diseases that affect the lungs and airways. It is defined by limited airflow as a result of breakdown of lung tissue and obstruction of the small airways. This condition is also referred to as chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD) and chronic obstructive respiratory disease (CORD).
Chronic potentially preventable hospitalisation conditions

Chronic conditions for which hospitalisation is considered potentially preventable. These conditions include angina, asthma, bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), congestive heart failure, diabetes complications, hypertension, iron deficiency anaemia, nutritional deficiencies and rheumatic heart diseases.

These conditions can be managed effectively through timely care (non-hospital) to prevent deterioration and hospitalisation, or through behaviour modification and lifestyle changes.

Clinical treatments Clinical treatments performed may include general and specific advice, counselling (e.g. for weight loss, smoking, medication) or education, family planning and administrative processes (e.g. providing a medical certificate).
Cohort A group of persons who experience a certain event in a specified period of time. For example, patients who made the same number of GP visits in 2012–13.
Common chronic condition A chronic medical condition that occurs frequently among people in the community and in general practice patients.
Concordances See Geographic correspondences.
Congestive cardiac failure Congestive cardiac failure is a chronic heart condition that occurs when the heart is unable to provide sufficient pressure to maintain blood flow around the body. It includes cardiac shock, which occurs when blood flow to vital organs is inadequate for normal function. Also called heart failure or congestive heart failure.
Consultation A face-to-face professional interchange between a patient and a health professional to discuss a health concern. Also see GP attendance, Specialist attendance and Visit.
Continuity of care The relationship between a single practitioner and a patient that extends beyond specific episodes of illness or disease.
Convulsion A medical condition where the body shakes uncontrollably because the muscles are contracting and relaxing rapidly and repeatedly.
Coordination of care The deliberate organisation of patient care activities between two or more participants involved in a patient’s care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health care services.
Correspondences See Geographic correspondences.
Council of Australian Governments (COAG) The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) is the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. The members of COAG are the Prime Minister, state and territory premiers and chief ministers and the president of the Australian Local Government Association.
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.
Death This definition excludes all deaths prior to birth. For the purposes of the ABS Death Registration collection, a death refers to any death which occurs in or on the way to Australia and is registered with a state or territory Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Decile Ten equal parts of a distribution. For example, if 100 patients were ranked according to the number of times they visit a doctor, the top decile will refer to the 10 patients with the most visits, and the bottom decile to the 10 patients with the fewest visits.
Decile group Selected Medicare Benefits Schedule statistics for Statistical Areas Level 3 were ranked from highest to lowest and then split into 10 equal groups called deciles. See Healthy Communities: Australians' experiences with primary health care in 2010–11, Technical Supplement for more information.
Depression A mood disorder with prolonged feelings of sadness and hopelessness, which is often accompanied by low self-esteem, a loss of interest in activities, and suicidal thoughts or self-blame.
Diabetes A chronic condition that results in the destruction of cells in the pancreas, leading to the loss of the ability to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. The two major types are called Diabetes type 1 and Diabetes type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes type 1 One of the two major types of diabetes mellitus: an autoimmune disease that results in the destruction of cells in the pancreas, leading to loss of the ability to secrete insulin. It has an abrupt onset, and insulin injections are required to sustain life; peak age of onset is 12 years. Also called insulin-dependent, juvenile, juvenile-onset, and Type I d. mellitus.
Diabetes type 2 One of the two major types of diabetes mellitus, with a peak age of onset between 50 and 60 years and a gradual development with few early symptoms. Dietary control with or without oral hypoglycaemic drugs is usually effective. Insulin injections are not usually needed. Diagnosis is based on pathology tests indicating glucose resistance. Called also adult-onset, maturity-onset, non-insulin-dependent, and Type II d. mellitus.
Diagnostic imaging

Production of diagnostic images; for example CT (computed tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), X-rays, ultrasound and nuclear medicine scans.

Refer to the relevant report's Technical Supplement for more information on what is included in Diagnostic imaging or Imaging statistics.

Diphtheria An acute illness caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Symptoms include severe inflammation of the nose, throat and windpipe leading to breathing and swallowing problems. Diphtheria can cause nerve and heart damage, and result in death.

E to M

Eclampsia A life-threatening complication of pregnancy. Eclampsia causes a pregnant woman, usually previously diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine), to develop seizures or a coma.
Emergency department (ED) A hospital facility that provides triage, assessment, care or treatment for non-admitted patients suffering from a medical condition or injury.
Emergency department attendance A visit to or presentation of a patient at an emergency department following the arrival of the patient at the emergency department. It is the earliest occasion of being registered clerically, or triaged. As a person may attend an emergency department in a hospital more than once in a year, the number of attendances is not the same as the number of people seen by the department.
Emergency service Unplanned services provided to patients who are not admitted to the hospital. This does not include services provided in discrete emergency departments for which waiting times information is available; these are reported as emergency department services.
Epilepsy A brain disorder characterised by repeated seizures (or convulsions) over time.
Estimated resident population (ERP) An official measure of the population of Australia calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, based on the concept of usual residence in a geographic area. Census year population estimates provide base populations from which subsequent annual estimates are derived, by ageing the base population, then adjusting for subsequent births, deaths and overseas and interstate migration.
Frequent GP attender A person who had 12 to 19 (inclusive) GP attendances in the financial year.
Fully immunised Fully immunised means having received the scheduled vaccinations according to age for hepatitis B (hepB); diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (acellular pertussis) (DTPa); Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib); poliomyelitis (inactivated poliomyelitis IPV); meningococcal; measles, mumps and rubella (MMRV) and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Gangrene A condition that occurs when blood supply to body tissue is interrupted and causes the tissue to die.
Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease A common condition in which the liquid contents of the stomach reflux back up into the oesophagus (food pipe).
General practitioner (GP)

A medical practitioner who provides primary comprehensive and continuing care to patients and their families within the community.

General practitioners include Fellows of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, vocationally registered general practitioners and medical practitioners undertaking approved GP training. This also includes doctors who are eligible for the Other Medical Practitioners programs run by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Geographic correspondences

Geographic correspondences (sometimes referred to as concordances or mapping files) are a mathematical method of reassigning data from one geographic region (e.g. a postcode of a patient’s address in MBS records) to a new geographic region (e.g. Primary Health Network area or Australian Bureau of Statistics, Statistical Areas Level 3). When reporting data for counts of people, correspondences are weighted by population, rather than by geographic area. Data reported by Primary Health Network area use correspondences published by the Department of Health prepared by the ABS, for conversion between standard geographic regions and Primary Health Network areas.

For further information, see the ABS online publications, Information Paper: Converting Data to the Australian Statistical Geography Standard, 2012 (cat. no. 1216.0.55.004) and the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Correspondences, July 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.006).

German measles See Rubella.
Gestation The process or period of carrying a baby in the womb from conception to delivery.
GP attendance A non-referred Medicare benefits-funded patient/doctor encounter, such as a visit or consultation, for which the patient has not been referred by another doctor. GP attendances exclude services provided by practice nurses and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners on a GP's behalf.
GP attender A person who has visited a GP at least once in the year.
GP management occasion A consultation in which a GP takes clinical action, such as prescribing medication, to manage a patient's chronic condition.
GP visit See Visit.
Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) Haemophilus influenzae type B is a bacterium that causes meningitis and other serious infections in young children.
Health status An individual's or population's overall level of health, taking into account various aspects such as life expectancy, amount of disability, levels of disease risk factors and so on.
Heart failure See Congestive cardiac failure.
Heart or circulatory condition Include a number of conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart, such as ischaemic heart disease (i.e. coronary heart disease), acute myocardial infarction (i.e. heart attack), angina, heart failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.
Hepatitis Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. The most common types of viral hepatitis are hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
High blood pressure

The World Health Organization defines high blood pressure as including any of the following:

  • systolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 140 mmHg, or;
  • diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mmHg, or;
  • receiving medication for high blood pressure.
Hospital Refers to 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 may also be included. Hospitals specialising in dental, ophthalmic aids and other specialised acute medical or surgical care are included. Outpatient clinics and emergency departments are excluded.
Hospital admission See Admission.
Hospitalisation An episode of admitted patient 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 (e.g. from acute care to rehabilitation). Also known as a separation.
Hospital-level data Refers to statistics at the level of individual hospitals, rather than health service areas, states/territories, or nationally.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) A common sexually transmitted virus that affects both men and women. Although often asymptomatic, HPV infection may cause genital warts as well as cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis and anus.
Hyperlipidaemia The presence of abnormally high levels of lipids (fats) such as cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
Hypertension Occurs when the blood is persistently pumping at a higher pressure than normal through the arteries. This can contribute to a number of conditions or diseases including heart attack, kidney disease or stroke.
Imaging See Diagnostic imaging.
Immunisation Immunisation means both receiving a vaccine and becoming immune to a disease as a result of being vaccinated.
Indicator A key statistical measure selected to help describe a situation concisely, to track change, progress and performance, and to act as a guide to decision making.
Infant A child who is aged less than 1 year.
Infection An infection occurs when bacteria or viruses enter the human body. If the body cannot fight the infection, the person may get sick. Measles, rubella, mumps, polio and hepatitis B are examples of infections caused by viruses. Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and Hib are examples of infections caused by bacteria.
Influenza A highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the Influenza virus. Symptoms include fever, cough and muscle aches.
In-hours emergency department attendance In-hours ED attendances include attendances where the patient presented to a public hospital ED on weekdays on or after 8am and before 8pm and Saturdays on or after 8am and before 1pm (excluding public holidays)
Insomnia Insomnia means difficulty with either falling or staying asleep. It is one of a number of sleep disorders.
Insufficient physical activity

Insufficient physical activity is physical activity participation that did not meet the Australian Government Department of Health’s Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines. For adults aged 18–64 years, this includes each week:

  • 150–300 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75–150 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both, and,
  • muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days.

Adults aged 65 years and over are recommended to accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.

Iron deficiency anaemia This condition occurs when the body does not have enough iron, causing it to make fewer red blood cells or red blood cells that are too small.
Ischaemic heart disease A disease characterised by reduced blood supply to the heart. Also called coronary heart disease. It is the most common form of cardiovascular disease. May take the form of a heart attack (see also Acute myocardial infarction) and/or angina (a chronic condition when a temporary loss of blood supply to the heart causes periodic chest pain).
Kidney and urinary tract infections A urinary tract infection (UTI), also known as acute cystitis or bladder infection, is an infection that affects part of the urinary tract. When it affects the lower urinary tract it is known as a simple cystitis (a bladder infection) and when it affects the upper urinary tract it is known as pyelonephritis (a kidney infection).
Life expectancy at birth The number of years of life that a person is expected to live at the time they are born. The measure assumes the age- and sex-specific death rate that applied when they were born continues throughout their lifetime.
Lifetime risky alcohol consumption Lifetime risky alcohol consumption is alcohol consumption that exceeds the 2009 National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for reducing health risks associated with alcohol consumption. The guidelines recommend that healthy men and women drink no more than 2 standard drinks of alcohol per day on average, to reduce their lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury.
Live birth The complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached; each product of such a birth is considered liveborn.
Local Hospital Network A Local Hospital Network (LHN) is an organisation that provides public hospital services in accordance with the National Health Reform Agreement. In New South Wales, these hospital networks are known as Local Hospital Districts. However, some states and territories use their own terminology, such as Local Health Districts (NSW), Hospital and Health Services (Qld), Local Health Networks (SA) and Tasmanian Health Organisations. Every public hospital in Australia is part of a Local Hospital Network (or district). Local Hospital Networks can comprise one or more hospitals, and they are usually defined as the hospitals serving a particular geographic area or a community, or as hospitals serving a particular function (for example, children’s hospitals or other specialist facilities within a state or territory).
Long-term health condition (ABS Survey of Health Care definition)

A health condition that is expected to last, or has lasted, 6 months or more and has been diagnosed by a health professional. Respondents were specifically asked whether they had any of the following conditions:

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • effects of a stroke
  • cancer
  • asthma
  • chronic lung disease
  • osteoporosis or low bone density
  • arthritis
  • mental health condition
  • Alzheimer disease or dementia
  • moderate or severe pain
  • other long-term health condition/long-term injury.
Long-term health condition (ABS National Health Survey definition) Survey participants were asked whether they had any of the following conditions that had lasted, or was likely to last, six months or more: arthritis or osteoporosis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart or circulatory condition, mental illness, long-term injury, or any other long-term health condition.
Long-term health condition (ABS Survey of Health Care definition

A health condition that is expected to last, or has lasted, 6 months or more and has been diagnosed by a health professional. Respondents were specifically asked whether they had any of the following conditions:

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • effects of a stroke
  • cancer
  • asthma
  • chronic lung disease
  • osteoporosis or low bone density
  • arthritis
  • mental health condition
  • Alzheimer disease or dementia
  • moderate or severe pain
  • other long-term health condition/long-term injury.
Long-term health condition (ABS National Health Survey definition Survey participants were asked whether they had any of the following conditions that had lasted, or was likely to last, six months or more: arthritis or osteoporosis, asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart or circulatory condition, mental illness, long-term injury, or any other long-term health condition.
Low birthweight Weight of a baby at birth that is less than 2,500 grams.
Measles Measles is a highly infectious disease caused by the Morbillivirus. Symptoms include rash, fever, cough, runny nose and inflammation of the eye.
Median The midpoint of a list of observations that have been ranked from the smallest to the largest. Also known as the 50th percentile.

Medicare is an Australian Government program administered by the Department of Human Services that gives eligible people access to:

  • Free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists, dentists and other allied health practitioners (in special circumstances only)
  • Free treatment and accommodation as a public (Medicare) patient in a hospital
  • 75% of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital.
Medicare benefit The amount paid by the Department of Human Services for a particular health service listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Synonymous with the term Medicare rebate.
Medicare Benefits expenditure Expenditure provided under Medicare covers benefits paid by the Department of Human Services for services listed in the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). It does not include out-of-pocket costs incurred provided by patients or third parties such as private health insurers.
Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) A Department of Health publication that lists services that are subsidised by the Australian Government under Medicare as set out in the Health Insurance Act 1973.
Medicare Local Medicare Locals were replaced by Primary Health Networks (PHNs) on 1 July 2015. See Primary Health Network.
Medicare Local peer group For some reports Medicare Locals have been sorted into peer groups based on factors such as remoteness, socioeconomic status and distance to hospitals. This allows Medicare Locals to be compared to other Medicare Locals with similar characteristics, and to the average for their peer group. See Healthy Communities: Australians' experiences with primary health care in 2010–11, Technical Supplement for more information.
Medicare Schedule fee The Medicare Schedule fee is set by the Department of Health for each medical service listed on the Medicare Benefits Schedule. The Medicare benefit for each service is either 75%, 85% or 100% of the listed Medicare Schedule fee, based on the type of provider, and whether the patient has been admitted to hospital or not. Health providers can choose how much they charge, so the fee charged may be higher than the Medicare Schedule fee.
Meningitis Meningitis is an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, and may be caused by a bacterial or viral infection.
Mental health condition Refers to a wide range of disorders that can affect a person’s mood, through and behaviour. Examples include anxiety disorders, depression and schizophrenia.
Morbidity Any departure, subjective or objective, from a state of physiological wellbeing. In this sense, sickness, illness and morbid conditions are synonymous.
Mortality rate The number of deaths in a specified period per 1,000 live births in the same period. This refers to infant and young child mortality rates, see Healthy Communities: Child and maternal health 2009–2012 for more information.
Multimorbidity Refers to when two or more chronic medical conditions occur in one person.
Multiple birth A pregnancy with multiple fetuses that remain in the womb until 20 weeks' gestation and are subsequently delivered.
Mumps A salivary gland infection caused by the Rubulavirus. Symptoms include swelling under the jaw, fever, headache and aching muscles.

N to P

National HPV Vaccination Program The HPV vaccination program provides the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine free to males and females aged 12–13 years in schools to protect against cervical cancer and other diseases. Parents or guardians are required to complete a consent form and return it to their child’s school to participate in the program.
National Immunisation Program Schedule The schedule which describes the vaccinations that are provided free to Australians under childhood programs, school programs and programs for special groups.
NP – Not available for publication This applies when data are not able to be published for reasons related to reliability, validity and/or confidentiality. Methods used to determine whether a statistic is published are included in each report's Technical Supplement or Technical Note.
Non-admitted Care provided to a patient who has not undergone a hospital's formal admission process. Non-admitted care may include outpatient visits and emergency department services.
Non-hospital Medicare service Non-hospital Medicare services are Medicare-funded services that are provided to people who are not admitted to hospital at the time of the service. These services include: GP and practice nurse attendances, specialist attendances, obstetric attendances, pathology tests and collection items, diagnostic imaging, optometry, allied health attendances, radiotherapy and therapeutic nuclear medicine, operations and assistance at operations. This includes eligible telehealth services.
Obesity A person whose Body mass index (BMI) was greater than or equal to 30.
Obstetric attendance

Care provided during pregnancy and childbirth. Medicare-subsidised obstetric attendances can be provided by an obstetrician or GP; or by a midwife, nurse or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioner when the service is provided on behalf of, and under the supervision of, a medical practitioner.

Refer to the relevant report’s Technical Note for more information.

Osteoarthritis A chronic and common form of arthritis, affecting mostly the spine, hips, knees and hands. It can first appear from the age of about 30 and is more common and severe with increasing age.
Other vaccine-preventable conditions Includes rotaviral enteritis, tetanus (other than newborn or obstetrical tetanus), diphtheria, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, varicella (chicken pox), measles, rubella (German measles), hepatitis B (acute and chronic), mumps, haemophilus meningitis.
Out-of-pocket cost The net cost to the patient of a health service, after deducting the Medicare benefit paid.
Overweight Defined as a Body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25 and less than 30.
Pathology episode Under Medicare, a non-hospital pathology episode is generally equivalent to a visit to a private pathology clinic for services requested by a private practitioner such as a GP or medical specialist. One or more pathology tests may be undertaken within a pathology episode. A patient can only claim one pathology episode per day (with some exceptions).
Pathology test Involves the laboratory testing of samples and body tissues such as urine and blood in order to diagnose disease.
Peer group See Medicare Local peer group.
Pelvic inflammatory disease Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the uterus and/or fallopian tubes.
Per person expenditure The total Medicare benefits expenditure for the population of concern divided by the number of people within that population. In other words, the average Medicare benefits expenditure for people in the population. Also see Medicare Benefits expenditure.
Percentile Each of the 100 equal groups into which a population can be divided according to the distribution of values of a particular variable.
Perforated/bleeding ulcer

Ulcers are sores or lesions that form in the lining of the stomach or duodenum.

A perforated ulcer is an ulcer that eats a hole in the wall of the stomach or duodenum.

A bleeding ulcer is an ulcer that has eaten into the muscles of the stomach or duodenal wall and caused damage to blood vessels and bleeding.

Performance and Accountability Framework The reports, results and measures available on this website are underpinned by the Performance and Accountability Framework. The Framework was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in late 2011 and released in May 2012. It identifies 48 indicators against which performance will be measured under the domains of equity, effectiveness and efficiency. There are 17 hospitals indicators and 31 indicators for primary health care organisations. For more information see the Performance and Accountability FrameworkExternal link, opens in a new window.[].
Perinatal Pertaining to, or occurring in, the period shortly before or after birth (usually up to 28 days after).
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) Peripheral vascular disease is the reduced circulation of blood to a body part other than the brain or heart. It is caused by narrowed or blocked arteries.
Pertussis See Whooping cough.
Pneumococcal disease Pneumococcal disease refers to a wide range of infections caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumonia. Some of the most severe infections, of the bloodstream (bacteraemia) and a swelling of the brain and spinal cord’s protective membranes (meningitis), can be life threatening.
Pneumonia Inflammation of one or both lungs that is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection.
Polio Polio, also known as poliomyelitis, is caused by a highly infectious virus. Symptoms include headache, nausea and vomiting, tiredness, stiffness and muscle pain. Polio also causes paralysis and in some cases is fatal.
Potentially avoidable deaths Deaths below the age of 75 that are preventable and/or treatable within Australian health and social systems.
Potentially preventable hospitalisation Conditions where hospitalisation could have potentially been prevented through the provision of appropriate, preventive health interventions and early disease management usually delivered in primary care and community-based care settings (including by general practitioners, medical specialists, dentists, nurses and allied health professionals). Also called potentially avoidable hospitalisations or ambulatory care sensitive conditions. See Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14, Technical Supplement for more details.
Potentially preventable deaths Deaths below the age of 75 that might have been avoided by health activities such as primary prevention and screening. Potentially preventable deaths are a sub-set of Potentially avoidable deaths.
Potentially treatable deaths Deaths below the age of 75 that might have been avoided through therapeutic interventions, such as surgery or medication. Potentially treatable deaths are a sub-set of Potentially avoidable deaths.
Prescription drugs Pharmaceutical medicines only available on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner and only available from pharmacies.
Primary health care Services delivered in many settings—such as general practices, community health centres, Aboriginal health services and allied health practices (for example, physiotherapy, dietetic and chiropractic practices)—that are delivered under numerous funding arrangements.
Primary Health Network Primary Health Networks were established on 1 July 2015. Primary Health Networks are intended to play a critical role in connecting health services across local communities so that patients, particularly those needing coordinated care, have the best access to a range of health care providers, including practitioners, community health services and hospitals. PHNs work directly with GPs, other primary care providers, secondary care providers and hospitals.
Private hospital A privately (non-government) 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 in this category as are private free-standing day facilities.
Psychotropic Psychotropic medicines act on the central nervous system to affect perception, mood, consciousness, cognition and/or behaviour. Examples include antidepressants, sedatives and antipsychotics.
Public hospital Hospital owned and managed by government.
Pyelonephritis A type of Urinary tract infection that affects one or both kidneys.

Q to Z

Quintile Five equal parts of a distribution. For example, if 100 patients were ranked according to the number of times they visit a doctor, the top quintile will refer to the 20 patients with the most visits, and the bottom quintile to the 20 patients with the fewest visits.
Quintile group Selected results for Medicare Locals were ranked from highest to lowest and then split into five equal groups called quintiles. See Healthy Communities: Australians' experiences with primary health care in 2010–11, Technical Supplement for more information.
Referral The process by which the responsibility for part, or all, of the care of a patient is temporarily transferred to another health care provider.
Remoteness areas Regions divided up within each state and territory based on their relative accessibility to goods and services (such as to general practitioners, hospitals and specialist care) as measured by road distance. These regions are based on the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia and defined as remoteness areas by the Australian Statistical Geographical Standard (ASGS) (from 2011 onwards) in each Census year. The five remoteness areas are Major cities, Inner regional, Outer regional, Remote and Very remote. Remote and Very remote areas have been combined for analyses in this report due to smaller numbers of patients enumerated in these areas compared with other areas.
Residential aged-care facility Residential aged-care facilities provide accommodation and personal and/or nursing care for people who can no longer live at home. Residential aged-care facilities are regulated by the Commonwealth Government and joint funded by the Commonwealth Government and the private sector. Two levels of residential care are currently provided in Australia. These are low level (hostel) services, and high level (nursing home) services.
Rheumatoid arthritis A chronic, multisystem disease whose most prominent feature is joint inflammation and resulting damage, most often affecting the hand joints in symmetrical fashion. Can occur in all age groups but most commonly appears between ages 20 and 40.
Rheumatic heart disease Rheumatic heart disease occurs when the heart is permanently damaged by acute rheumatic fever, which is an illness caused by an untreated infection with group A. streptococcus.
Rubella Rubella is a viral disease. For most people, a rubella infection causes mild illness. However, if a woman acquires the disease early in her pregnancy, there is an increased risk of miscarriage and severe birth defects in the infant.
Same day patient Admitted patients who are admitted to hospital and discharged on the same calendar day.
Separation See Hospitalisation.
Singleton birth A pregnancy with a single fetus that remains in the womb until 20 weeks’ gestation and is subsequently delivered.
Smoker Adults aged 18 years and over, who smoke one or more cigarettes, roll-your-own cigarettes, cigars or pipes at least once per day. Chewing tobacco and the smoking of non-tobacco products were excluded.
Socioeconomic group A population grouping that indicates how ‘well off’ a group of people are. In this report, socioeconomic areas are mostly reported using the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, typically for five groups (quintiles)—from the most disadvantaged (worst off or lowest socioeconomic area) to the least disadvantaged (best off or highest socioeconomic area). The index value reflects the overall or average level of disadvantage of the population of an area; it does not show how individuals living in the same area differ from each other in their socioeconomic group. This report uses the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Disadvantage.
Specialist attendance Specialist attendances are Medicare benefits-funded referred patient/doctor encounters, such as visits, consultations and attendances (including video conference), involving medical practitioners who have been recognised as specialists or consultant physicians for Medicare benefits purposes.
Statins Drugs used to lower plasma lipoproteins and cholesterol.
Statistical Area Level 3 (SA3) A geographic area defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which typically has a population of between 30,000 and 130,000 people. There are more than 300 Statistical Areas Level 3 in Australia.
Statistical Area Level 4 (SA4) A geographic area defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which typically has a population range from 100,000 to 300,000 people in regional areas, and from 300,000 to 500,000 people in metropolitan areas. There are 88 SA4s that cover the whole of Australia.
Stroke See Cerebrovascular accident and Cerebrovascular disease.
Tetanus Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a serious disease caused by a toxin made by the bacterium Clostridium tetani, present in soil, dust and manure, tetanus attacks the nervous system and causes severe muscle spasms leading to breathing difficulties, painful convulsions and abnormal heart rhythms.
Triage category Used in hospital emergency departments to indicate the urgency of the patient's need for medical and nursing care. Patients are triaged into one of five categories on the Australasian Triage Scale:
  • Resuscitation (triage category 1) is 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
  • Emergency (triage category 2) is for conditions that could be life threatening and require prompt attention such as chest pain or possible stroke
  • Urgent (triage category 3) is for serious but stable conditions, such as wounds or abdominal pain
  • Semi-urgent (triage category 4) is for conditions such as broken arms or legs
  • Non-urgent (triage category 5) is the least urgent category. It is for problems or illnesses such as cough or cold.
Trimester A period of about three months. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters: first trimester (conception to 13 weeks), second trimester (13 to 26 weeks), third trimester (26 to 40 weeks).
Uncontrolled high blood pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is defined as:

  • measured systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or more, or
  • diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or more,
  • irrespective of whether they were taking medication for high blood pressure.
Usual GP The general practitioner whom a person visits for most of their health care.
Usual place of care The usual place to which people go if they are sick or need advice about their health. Examples of usual place of care settings include a clinic with GPs only, or with GPs and other health professionals; a community health centre; an Aboriginal Medical Service; or, for some patients, a hospital emergency department.
Vaccination The administration of a vaccine. Note the terms vaccination and immunisation are not exactly the same; vaccination is the process of receiving a vaccine, while immunisation is the process of receiving a vaccine and becoming immune to a disease as a result of being vaccinated. Also see Immunisation.
Vaccine A preventive health product that protects individuals against diseases by training the immune system to recognise and fight off invading organisms.
Vaccine-preventable conditions

Vaccine-preventable conditions are conditions that should be preventable through vaccination which is usually available in primary health care settings.

The vaccine-preventable conditions that are included in the 2015 National Healthcare Agreement definition of Potentially preventable hospitalisations include influenza and pneumonia, rotaviral enteritis, tetanus (other than newborn or obstetrical tetanus), diphtheria, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, varicella (chicken pox), measles, rubella (German measles), hepatitis B (acute and chronic), mumps, haemophilus meningitis.

For these conditions, it is the condition that is considered preventable rather than the Hospitalisation.

Very high GP attender A person who had 20 or more GP attendances in the financial year.
Visit A general term used to refer to when a patient attends a health service such as a general practice, specialist clinic or emergency department to obtain medical treatment for oneself (as opposed to accompanying another person such as a family member). Includes instances when the health practitioner visits the patient, for example, in their home or residential aged-care facility. Used interchangeably with the terms attendance, consultation and presentation. Unlike the term GP attendance which is specific to Medicare-funded GP consultations, the term visit does not distinguish between funding sources. Also see GP attendance, ED attendance and Consultation.
Whooping cough Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a serious, contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.
Young child A child aged between one year and less than five years.