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National Outpatient Care Database Data Quality Statement: 2010-11

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termQuality Statement
Synonymous names:Help on this termNOCD
METeOR identifier:Help on this term511371
Registration status:Help on this termAIHW Data Quality Statements, Endorsed 29/05/2013

Data quality

Quality statement summary:Help on this term

The National Outpatient Care Database (NOCD) includes aggregate data on services provided to non-admitted, non-emergency patients registered for care in outpatient clinics of public hospitals. The data supplied are based on the National Minimum Data Set for Outpatient care (OPC NMDS).

While the scope of the NOCD covers public hospitals in public hospital peer groups A or B (Principal referral and specialist women’s and children’s hospitals or Large hospitals) in Australian hospital statistics of the previous year, data were also provided by some states and territories for hospitals in peer groups other than A and B.

For 2010–11, the proportion of outpatient occasions of service reported to the NOCD was estimated as 96% for public hospitals in peer groups A and B and 78% for all public hospitals.

The NOCD includes data on the type of outpatient clinic and counts of individual and group occasions of service.

The database includes data for each year from 2005–06 to 2010–11.

 

Summary of key issues

• While the scope of the National Outpatient Care Database (NOCD) covers public hospitals in public hospital peer groups A and B (Principal referral and specialist women’s and children’s and Large hospitals), data were also provided by some states and territories for hospitals in peer groups other than A and B:

– New South Wales provided data for 2 Medium hospitals

– Victoria provided data for 1 Medium hospital

– Western Australia provided data for 5 Medium hospitals, 2 Small remote acute hospitals, 1 Small non-acute hospital and 1 Rehabilitation hospital

– South Australia provided data for 1 Medium hospital

– Tasmania provided data for 1 Medium hospital.

• For 2010–11, the proportion of outpatient occasions of service reported to the NOCD was estimated as 96% for public hospitals in peer groups A and B and 78% for all public hospitals.

• The data in the NOCD are not necessarily representative of the hospitals not included in the NOCD. Hospitals not included do not necessarily have outpatient clinics that are equivalent to those in hospitals in peer groups A and B.

• The data collection does not include care provided to non-admitted patients in emergency departments.

• Although the NOCD is a valuable source of information on services provided to non-admitted, non-emergency patients, the data have limitations. For example, there is variation in admission practices between states and territories and there is variation in the types of services provided for non-admitted patients in a hospital setting.

• For 2010–11, some states re-categorised some outpatient clinics to align with the Activity Based Funding Tier 2 structure. Therefore, these data may not be comparable to data reported for previous years.

Institutional environment:Help on this term

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government under the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987 to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare. It is an independent statutory authority established in 1987, governed by a management board, and accountable to the Australian Parliament through the Health and Ageing portfolio.

The AIHW aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians through better health and welfare information and statistics. It collects and reports information on a wide range of topics and issues, ranging from health and welfare expenditure, hospitals, disease and injury, and mental health, to ageing, homelessness, disability and child protection.

The Institute also plays a role in developing and maintaining national metadata standards. This work contributes to improving the quality and consistency of national health and welfare statistics. The Institute works closely with governments and non-government organisations to achieve greater adherence to these standards in administrative data collections to promote national consistency and comparability of data and reporting.

One of the main functions of the AIHW is to work with the states and territories to improve the quality of administrative data and, where possible, to compile national datasets based on data from each jurisdiction, to analyse these datasets and disseminate information and statistics.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Act 1987, in conjunction with compliance to the Privacy Act 1988, (Commonwealth) ensures that the data collections managed by the AIHW are kept securely and under the strictest conditions with respect to privacy and confidentiality.

For further information see the AIHW website <www.aihw.gov.au>

Data for the NHMD, the NPHED, the NNAPEDCD, the NESWTDC and the NOCD were supplied to the AIHW by state and territory health authorities under the terms of the National Health Information Agreement (see the following link).

<http:// http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/182135>

The state and territory health authorities received these data from public and private hospitals as stated below. 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 a variety of administrative arrangements, contractual requirements or legislation.

Timeliness:Help on this term

The reference period for this data set is 2010–11. The data set includes records for Outpatient care occasions of service provided between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011.

States and territories provided a first version of the data to the AIHW at the end of December 2011. This data was reported on 30 April 2012. Data provision and publication were in accordance with agreed timetables.

Accessibility:Help on this term

The AIHW provides a variety of products that draw upon the NOCD. These include the Australian hospital statistics suite of products with associated Excel tables, which can be accessed on the AIHW website:

<http://www.aihw.gov.au/hospitals/>

Interpretability:Help on this term

Metadata information for the OPC NMDS are published in the AIHW’s online metadata repository—METeOR, and the National health data dictionary.

METeOR and the National health data dictionary can be accessed on the AIHW website:

<http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/181162>

<http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442468385>

Relevance:Help on this term

The NOCD provides information for services provided to non-admitted, non-emergency patients registered for care in outpatient clinics of public hospitals that were classified as either peer group A or B (Principal referral and specialist women’s and children’s hospitals or Large hospitals). Data were also provided by some states and territories for hospitals that were not classified as either peer group A or B hospitals.

The data in the NOCD are not necessarily representative of the hospitals not included in the NOCD. Hospitals not included do not necessarily have outpatient clinics that are equivalent to those in hospitals in peer groups A and B.

Although the NOCD is a valuable source of information on services provided to non-admitted, non-emergency patients, the data have limitations. For example, there is variation in admission practices between states and territories and there is variation in the types of services provided for non-admitted patients in a hospital setting.

Accuracy:Help on this term

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

States and territories may differ in the extent to which outpatient services are provided in non-hospital settings (such as community health centres) which are beyond the scope of the NOCD.

Although there are national standards for data on outpatient care, statistics may be affected by state and territory variations in admission practices, and in the allocation of outpatient services to clinics.

For Western Australia, counts of outpatient group occasions of service reported to the NOCD reflect the number of individuals who attend group sessions. The data for Western Australia group occasions of service are therefore not comparable to the data provided for group sessions presented for other states and territories.

Coherence:Help on this term

The NOCD includes data for each year from 2005–06 to 2010–11.

The data reported to the NOCD is consistent with the numbers of outpatient occasions of services reported to the NPHED for the same reference year. For 2010–11, the proportion of outpatient occasions of service reported to the NOCD was estimated as 78% for all public hospitals.

Time series presentations may be affected by changes in the number of hospitals reported to the collection, changes in coverage and changes in clinic categorisation:

• The number of hospitals in peer groups A and B included in the NOCD increased from 120 in 2005–06 to 128 in 2010–11.

• For 2010–11, some states re-categorised some outpatient clinics to align with the Activity Based Funding Tier 2 structure. Therefore, these data may not be comparable to data reported for previous years.

• For 2009–10, Tasmania was not able to provide outpatient care data for one Principal referral hospital which reported about 134,000 occasions to the NOCD in 2010–11.

• For 2010–10, Tasmania was able to exclude counts of outpatient occasions of service provided at public hospitals by private specialists. In previous years, these were included in Tasmania’s outpatient care data.

Data products

Implementation start date:Help on this term17/01/2013
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