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Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14 - Report - Reference material

Healthy Communities: Potentially preventable hospitalisations in 2013–14

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Reference material


Acute health condition A medical condition that comes on suddenly and lasts for a limited time.
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 (inflammation of the kidney) . While these conditions may not be preventable, in theory hospitalisation for them should not occur if people receive timely and adequate access to primary health care.
Admission The administrative process of becoming a patient in a hospital.
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 this report’s Technical Supplement for more information on the methodology used.
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.
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.
Bed days The total number of days for patients who were admitted for an episode of care and who separated during a specified reference period. A patient who is admitted and separated on the same day is allocated one bed day.
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 mucus to build up. Many patients who develop bronchiectasis have been smokers who also have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Cellulitis Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and underlying tissue, which is usually treated with antibiotics.
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 avoidable hospitalisation conditions

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

While these conditions may be preventable through behaviour modification and lifestyle change, they can also theoretically be managed in a primary health care setting to prevent the condition worsening and hospitalisation.

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.
Convulsions and epilepsy

A convulsion is a medical condition where the body shakes uncontrollably because the muscles are contracting and relaxing rapidly and repeatedly.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterised by repeated seizures (or convulsions) over time.

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.
Correspondences See Geographic correspondences.
Dental conditions In this report, dental conditions includes dental caries which cause decay; cavities and discoloration of the teeth; inflammation of the gums and tissues that support the teeth; inflammation of the mouth and related lesions; and other diseases of the lip and lining of the mouth.
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 complications In this report, diabetes complications refer to hospitalisations with a principal diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes mellitus; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; malnutritionrelated diabetes mellitus; other specified diabetes mellitus; or unspecified diabetes mellitus.
Ear, nose and throat infections In this report, ear nose and throat infections are defined to include otitis media or middle ear infections; pharyngitis or inflammation of the back of the throat; tonsillitis; and upper respiratory tract infections.
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.
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.
Gangrene A condition that occurs when blood supply to body tissue is interrupted and causes the tissue to die.
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).

Heart failure See Congestive cardiac failure.
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.
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.
Influenza and pneumonia

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus that is spread by coughs and colds.

Pneumonia is an inflammation of one or both lungs that is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection.

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.
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).
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).
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 this report’s Technical Supplement.
Nutritional deficiencies In this report, nutritional deficiencies include hospitalisations with a principal diagnosis of some forms of malnutrition, Vitamin D deficiency and conditions resulting from rickets.
Other vaccinepreventable 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.
Pelvic inflammatory disease Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the uterus and/or fallopian tubes.
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 National Health Performance Authority’s work is underpinned by the Performance and Accountability Framework that was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and released in May 2012. The Performance and Accountability Framework 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. You can view the Performance and Accountability Framework on the National Health Performance Authority website.
Pneumonia and influenza

Pneumonia is an inflammation of one or both lungs that is caused by either a bacterial or viral infection.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a virus that is spread by coughs and colds.

Pneumonia and influenza (vaccine-preventable)

Includes types of pneumonia and influenza that can be prevented by vaccination.

Excludes babies under two months.

Pneumonia (not vaccine-preventable)

Types of pneumonia that could not be prevented by vaccination (includes streptococcus group B, other streptococci, mycophasma pneumonia, chlamydial).

Excludes babies under two months.

Potentially avoidable hospitalisation Potentially avoidable hospitalisations (also called ambulatory care sensitive conditions or potentially preventable hospitalisations) are those that could have been avoided by timely and effective provision of non-hospital or primary health care including prevention. The Performance Authority used this definition for the Healthy Communities: Selected potentially avoidable hospitalisations in 2011–12 report. The specification has since been updated and is now reported as a Potentially preventable hospitalisation.
Potentially preventable hospitalisation

Hospital separations from a specified range of conditions where hospitalisation is considered to be largely preventable by timely and effective provision of non-hospital or primary health care including prevention. Also called potentially avoidable hospitalisations or ambulatory care sensitive conditions.

In this report, Potentially preventable hospitalisations refer to the 2015 National Healthcare Agreement’s set of 22 conditions for which hospitalisation is considered to be potentially preventable (Box 1).

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.
Pyelonephritis A type of urinary tract infection that affects one or both kidneys.
Rheumatic heart diseases 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. In this report, rheumatic heart diseases includes acute rheumatic fever.
Same day patient Admitted patients who are admitted to hospital and discharged on the same calendar day.
Separation See Hospitalisation.
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.
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.

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