12 Public hospitals

12 Public hospitals
12 Public hospitals


Professional recognition awarded to hospitals and other healthcare facilities that meet defined industry standards. Public hospitals can seek accreditation through the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards Evaluation and Quality Improvement Program, the Australian Quality Council (now known as Business Excellence Australia), the Quality Improvement Council, the International Organisation for Standardization 9000 Quality Management System or other equivalent programs.

Acute care

Clinical services provided to admitted patients, including managing labour, curing illness or treating injury, performing surgery, relieving symptoms and/or reducing the severity of illness or injury, and performing diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

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).

Allied health (non‑admitted)

Occasions of service to non-admitted patients at units/clinics providing treatment/counselling to patients. These include units providing physiotherapy, speech therapy, family planning, dietary advice, optometry and occupational therapy.

Australian classification of health interventions (ACHI)

Developed by the National Centre for Classification in Health, the ACHI comprises a tabular list of health interventions and an alphabetic index of health intervention.


Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Group – a patient classification system that hospitals use to match their patient services (hospital procedures and diagnoses) with their resource needs. AR-DRG version 6.0x is based on the ICD-10-AM classification.

Casemix adjusted

Adjustment of data on cases treated to account for the number and type of cases. Cases are sorted by AR‑DRG into categories of patients with similar clinical conditions and requiring similar hospital services. Casemix adjustment is an important step to achieving comparable measures of efficiency across hospitals and jurisdictions.

Casemix adjusted separations

The number of separations adjusted to account for differences across hospitals in the complexity of episodes of care.

Community health services

Health services for individuals and groups delivered in a community setting, rather than via hospitals or private facilities.


Data are considered comparable if (subject to caveats) they can be used to inform an assessment of comparative performance. Typically, data are considered comparable when they are collected in the same way and in accordance with the same definitions. For comparable indicators or measures, significant differences in reported results allow an assessment of differences in performance, rather than being the result of anomalies in the data.


Data are considered complete if all required data are available for all jurisdictions that provide the service.

Cost of capital

The return foregone on the next best investment, estimated at a rate of 8 per cent of the depreciated replacement value of buildings, equipment and land. Also called the ‘opportunity cost’ of capital.

Elective surgery waiting times

Elective surgery waiting times are calculated by comparing the date on which patients are added to a waiting list with the date on which they are admitted for the awaited procedure. Days on which the patient was not ready for care are excluded.

Emergency department waiting time to commencement of clinical care

The time elapsed for each patient from presentation to the emergency department (that is, the time at which the patient is clerically registered or triaged, whichever occurs earlier) to the commencement of service by a treating medical officer or nurse.

Emergency department waiting times to admission

The time elapsed for each patient from presentation to the emergency department to admission to hospital.


The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems – 10th Revision – Australian modification (ICD-10-AM) is the current classification of diagnoses in Australia.

Hospital boarder

A person who is receiving food and/or accommodation but for whom the hospital does not accept responsibility for treatment and/or care.

Length of stay

For an episode of care, the period from admission to separation less any days spent away from the hospital (leave days).


Australian Government funding of private medical and optometrical services (under the Medicare Benefits Schedule). Sometimes defined to include other forms of Australian Government funding such as subsidisation of selected pharmaceuticals (under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) and public hospital funding (under the Australian Health Care Agreements), which provides public hospital services free of charge to public patients.

Newborn qualification status

A newborn qualification status is assigned to each patient day within a newborn episode of care.

A newborn patient day is qualified if the infant meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • is the second or subsequent live born infant of a multiple birth, whose mother is currently an admitted patient
  • is admitted to an intensive care facility in a hospital, being a facility approved by the Commonwealth Minister for the purpose of the provision of special care
  • is admitted to, or remains in hospital without its mother.

A newborn patient day is unqualified if the infant does not meet any of the above criteria.

The day on which a change in qualification status occurs is counted as a day of the new qualification status.

If there is more than one qualification status in a single day, the day is counted as a day of the final qualification status for that day.

Nursing and midwifery workforce

Registered nurses, enrolled nurses and midwives who are employed in nursing and/or midwifery in Australia excluding those on extended leave.

Medical practitioner workforce

Registered medical practitioners who are employed in medicine in Australia excluding those on extended leave.

Non-acute care

Includes maintenance care and newborn care (where the newborn does not require acute care).

Non-admitted occasions of service

Occasion of examination, consultation, treatment or other service provided to a non-admitted patient in a functional unit of a health service establishment. Services can include emergency department visits, outpatient services (such as pathology, radiology and imaging, and allied health services, including speech therapy and family planning) and other services to non-admitted patients. Hospital non-admitted occasions of service are not yet recorded consistently across states and territories, and relative differences in the complexity of services provided are not yet documented.

Non-admitted patient

A patient who has not undergone a formal admission process, but who may receive care through an emergency department, outpatient or other non-admitted service.

Peer group(s)

Peer groups are used to categorise similar hospitals with shared characteristics. Categorising hospitals in peer groups allows for valid comparisons to be made across similar hospitals providing similar services.

The peer groups are:

  • Acute public hospitals
  • Acute private hospitals
  • Very small hospitals
  • Women’s and children’s hospitals
  • Early parenting centres
  • Drug and alcohol hospitals
  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Other acute specialised hospitals
  • Same day hospitals
  • Sub- and non-acute hospitals
  • Outpatient hospitals
  • Unpeered hospitals

For further details on hospital peer groups, see AIHW (2015) Australian hospital peer groups , Health services series no. 66. Cat no. HSW 170. Canberra: AIHW (https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/79e7d756-7cfe-49bf-b8c0-0bbb0daa2430/14825.pdf.aspx?inline=true).

Posthumous organ procurement

An activity undertaken by hospitals in which human tissue is procured for the purpose of transplantation from a donor who has been declared brain dead.

Public hospital

A hospital that provides free treatment and accommodation to eligible admitted persons who elect to be treated as public patients. It also provides free services to eligible non-admitted patients and can provide (and charge for) treatment and accommodation services to private patients. Charges to non-admitted patients and admitted patients on discharge can be levied in accordance with the Australian Health Care Agreements (for example, aids and appliances).

Real expenditure

Actual expenditure adjusted for changes in prices.

Relative stay index

The actual number of patient days for acute care separations in selected AR–DRGs divided by the expected number of patient days adjusted for casemix. Includes acute care separations only. Excludes: patients who died or were transferred within 2 days of admission, or separations with length of stay greater than 120 days, AR-DRGs which are for ‘rehabilitation’, AR‑DRGs which are predominantly same day (such as R63Z chemotherapy and L61Z admit for renal dialysis), AR-DRGs which have a length of stay component in the definition, and error AR-DRGs.

Same day patients

A patient whose admission date is the same as the separation date.

Sentinel events

Adverse events that cause serious harm to patients and that have the potential to undermine public confidence in the healthcare system.


A total hospital stay (from admission to discharge, transfer or death) or a portion of a hospital stay beginning or ending in a change in the type of care for an admitted patient (for example, acute to rehabilitation). Includes admitted patients who receive same day procedures (for example, dialysis).

Service event

An interaction between one or more health-care provider(s) with one non-admitted patient, which must contain therapeutic/clinical content and result in dated entry in the patient’s medical record.

Subacute care

Specialised multidisciplinary care in which the primary need for care is optimisation of the patient’s functioning and quality of life. A person’s functioning may relate to their whole body or a body part, the whole person, or the whole person in a social context, and to impairment of a body function or structure, activity limitation and/or participation restriction.

Subacute care comprises the defined care types of rehabilitation, palliative care, geriatric evaluation and management and psychogeriatric care.

Triage category

The urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care:

category 1 — resuscitation (immediate within seconds)

category 2 — emergency (within 10 minutes)

category 3 — urgent (within 30 minutes)

category 4 — semi-urgent (within 60 minutes)

category 5 — non-urgent (within 120 minutes).

Urgency category for elective surgery

Category 1 patients — admission within 30 days is desirable for a condition that has the potential to deteriorate quickly to the point that it can become an emergency.

Category 2 patients — admission within 90 days is desirable for a condition that is causing some pain, dysfunction or disability, but that is not likely to deteriorate quickly or become an emergency.

Category 3 patients — admission at some time in the future is acceptable for a condition causing minimal or no pain, dysfunction or disability, that is unlikely to deteriorate quickly and that does not have the potential to become an emergency.

Source: pc.gov.au

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