Australian Government: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare METeOR Home Page

National Healthcare Agreement: PI 45-Rates of services: Overnight separations, 2012 QS

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termQuality Statement
METeOR identifier:Help on this term500170
Registration status:Help on this termHealth, Retired 14/01/2015

Relational attributes

Indicators linked to this Quality statement:Help on this term

National Healthcare Agreement: PI 45-Rates of services: Overnight separations, 2012 Health, Retired 25/06/2013

Data quality

Quality statement summary:Help on this term
  • The National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD) is a comprehensive data set that has records for all separations of admitted patients from essentially all public and private hospitals in Australia.
  • The number of overnight separations is considered to be more comparable than the total number of separations among jurisdictions and between the public and private sectors. This is because variation in admission practices and policies mainly lead to variation in the number of same-day admissions among providers.
  • Numerators for remoteness and socioeconomic status are based on the reported area of usual residence of the patient, regardless of the jurisdiction of the hospital. This is relevant if significant numbers of one jurisdiction’s residents are treated in another jurisdiction.
  • Interpretation of rates for jurisdictions should take into consideration cross-border flows, particularly in the Australian Capital Territory.
Institutional environment:Help on this term

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has calculated this indicator.

The AIHW is an independent statutory authority within the Health and Ageing portfolio, which is accountable to the Parliament of Australia through the Minister for Health and Ageing. For further information see the AIHW website.

The data were supplied to the AIHW by state and territory health authorities. The state and territory health authorities received these data from public and private hospitals. States and territories use these data for service planning, monitoring, and internal and public reporting. Hospitals may be required to provide data to states and territories through administrative arrangements, contractual requirements or legislation.

States and territories supplied these data under the terms of the National Health Information Agreement (see link below).

www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=6442472807&libID=6442472788

Timeliness:Help on this term

The reference period for these data is 2009–10.

Accessibility:Help on this term

The AIHW provides a variety of products that draw upon the NHMD. Published products available on the AIHW website are:

  • Australian hospital statistics with associated Excel tables.
  • interactive data cubes for Admitted patient care (for Principal diagnoses, Procedures and Diagnosis Related Groups).

Some data are also included on the MyHospitals website.

Interpretability:Help on this term

Supporting information on the quality and use of the NHMD are published annually in Australian hospital statistics (technical appendixes), available in hard copy or on the AIHW website. Readers are advised to note caveat information to ensure appropriate interpretation of the performance indicator. Supporting information includes discussion of coverage, completeness of coding, the quality of Indigenous data, and variation in service delivery that might affect interpretation of the published data. Metadata information for the NMDS for Admitted patient care is published in the AIHW’s online metadata repository (METeOR) and the National health data dictionary.

Relevance:Help on this term

The purpose of the NMDS for Admitted patient care is to collect information about care provided to admitted patients in Australian hospitals. The scope of the NMDS is episodes of care for admitted patients in essentially all hospitals in Australia, including public and private acute and psychiatric hospitals, free-standing day hospital facilities, alcohol and drug treatment hospitals and dental hospitals. Hospitals operated by the Australian Defence Force, corrections authorities and in Australia's off-shore territories are not included. Hospitals specialising in ophthalmic aids and other specialised acute medical or surgical care are included.

The hospital separations data do not include episodes of non-admitted patient care provided in outpatient clinics or emergency departments.

The analyses by remoteness and socioeconomic status are based on the Statistical Local Area (SLA) of usual residence of the patient. The Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) categories for socioeconomic status represent approximately the same proportion of the national population, but do not necessarily represent that proportion of the population in each state or territory (each SEIFA decile or quintile represents 10 per cent and 20 per cent respectively of the national population). The SEIFA scores for each SLA are derived from 2006 Census data and represent the attributes of the population in that SLA in 2006. To allocate a 2006 SEIFA score to 2009 SLAs (used for 2009–10 data), 2009 SLA boundaries are mapped backed to 2006 SLA boundaries. It is possible that the demographic profile of some areas may have changed between 2006 and 2009 due to changes in the socioeconomic status of the existing population, or changes to population size, thus potentially diminishing the accuracy of that area’s SEIFA score over time. This is likely to impact most those quintiles in jurisdictions with a greater number of areas experiencing substantial population movement or renewal.

Separations are reported by jurisdiction of hospitalisation, regardless of the jurisdiction of usual residence. Hence, rates represent the number of separations for patients living in each remoteness area or SEIFA population group (regardless of their jurisdiction of residence) divided by the total number of people living in that remoteness area or SEIFA population group in the reporting jurisdiction. This is relevant if significant numbers of one jurisdiction’s residents are treated in another jurisdiction (for example, the Australian Capital Territory).

Other Australians includes separations for non‑Indigenous people and those for whom Indigenous status was not stated.

Accuracy:Help on this term

For 2009–10 almost all public hospitals provided data for the NHMD, with the exception of all separations for a mothercraft hospital in the Australian Capital Territory and about 2,400 separations for one public hospital in Western Australia.

The majority of private hospitals provided data, with the exception of the private day hospital facilities in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. In addition, Western Australia was not able to provide about 10,600 separations for one private hospital.

States and territories are primarily responsible for the quality of the data they provide. However, the AIHW undertakes extensive validations on data. Data are checked for valid values, logical consistency and historical consistency. Where possible, data in individual data sets are checked against data from other data sets. Potential errors are queried with jurisdictions, and corrections and resubmissions may be made in response to these queries. The AIHW does not adjust data to account for possible data errors or missing or incorrect values.

The number of overnight separations is considered more comparable than the total number of separations among jurisdictions and between the public and private sectors. This is because variation in admission practices and policies mainly lead to variation in the number of same-day admissions among providers.

The Indigenous status data are of sufficient quality for statistical reporting for the following jurisdictions: New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia (public and private hospitals) and Northern Territory (public hospitals only). National totals include these six jurisdictions only. Indigenous status data reported for Tasmania and Australian Capital Territory (public and private hospitals) should be interpreted with caution until further assessment of Indigenous identification is completed.

Cells have been suppressed to protect confidentiality where the presentation could identify a patient or a service provider or where rates are likely to be highly volatile, for example, where the denominator is very small. The following rules were applied:

  • Rates were suppressed where the numerator was less than 5 and/or the denominator was less than 1,000.
  • Data for private hospitals in Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory were suppressed.
Coherence:Help on this term

The information presented for this indicator is calculated using the same methodology as data published in Australian hospital statistics 2009–10 and the National Healthcare Agreement: performance report 2009‑10.

The data can be meaningfully compared across reference periods for all jurisdictions except Tasmania. 2008–09 data for Tasmania does not include two private hospitals that were included in 2007–08 and 2009–10 data reported in National Healthcare Agreement performance reports.

Caution is also required when analysing SEIFA over time for the reasons outlined above (see Relevance section). Methodological variations also exist in the application of SEIFA to various data sets and performance indicators. Any comparisons of the SEIFA analysis for this indicator with other related SEIFA analysis should be undertaken with careful consideration of the methods used, in particular the SEIFA index used and the approach taken to derive quintiles and deciles.

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

Supersedes National Healthcare Agreement: PI 45: Rates of services: Overnight separations, 2011 QS Health, Superseded 04/12/2012

My items Help on this term
Download Help on this term