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About the data

  1. Where does the information on this website come from?

    Where does the information on this website come from?

    This website includes information derived largely from data recorded in a number of national hospitals databases held by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). States and territories also provided additional information for reporting on MyHospitals, such as hospital address and contact details, and lists of specialist services provided.

    Data are collected at each hospital and routinely provided to state and territory health authorities for aggregation through a variety of administrative arrangements, contractual requirements and legislation.

    The data in national hospitals' databases are largely provided by state and territory health authorities under the terms of the National Health Information Agreement (external link, opens in a new window) [http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/182135].

    Data definitions

    Data in national hospital databases are provided according to nationally agreed definitions as detailed in the AIHW's Metadata Online Registry (METeOR (external link, opens in a new window) [http://meteor.aihw.gov.au]).

    Although there are national standards for data on hospital services, there are some variations in how hospital services are defined and counted; between public and private hospitals; among the states and territories; and over time.

    For example, there is variation in admission practices for some services, such as chemotherapy and endoscopy. As a result, people receiving the same type of service may be counted as same-day admitted patients in some hospitals, and as non-admitted patients in other hospitals. Statistics on separations for admitted patients may be affected by variations in statistical admission and statistical separation practices across states and territories, and the way in which hospital stays for newborns were reported.

    In addition, hospitals provide some services in some jurisdictions, and non-hospital health services provide them in other jurisdictions. The national data on hospital care does not include care provided by non-hospital providers, such as community health centres.

    Public hospitals are defined for this website (and for other national hospital reporting) by states and territories. They usually correspond to physical buildings or campuses but may encompass some outpost locations such as dialysis units, or be grouped into networks for some reporting purposes. Sometimes, hospitals on the one 'campus' can be reported as separate entities if, for example, they are managed separately.

  2. What national hospital databases are used for this website?

    What national hospital databases are used for this website?

    This section provides an overview of the hospital databases that are used for MyHospitals.

    National Public Hospital Establishments Database (NPHED)

    The NPHED holds hospital-level data for each public hospital in Australia, including public acute hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, drug and alcohol hospitals, and dental hospitals in all states and territories. The collection covers hospitals within the jurisdiction of the state and territory health authorities only. Hence, public hospitals not administered by the state and territory health authorities (hospitals operated by the Department of Defence or correctional authorities, for example, and hospitals located in offshore territories) are not included.

    The collection is based on the national minimum dataset for public hospital establishments. Information is included on hospital resources (beds, staff and specialised services), recurrent expenditure (including depreciation), non-appropriation revenue and services provided to non-admitted patients.

    National Hospital Morbidity Database (NHMD)

    The NHMD is a comprehensive database that contains episode-level records from admitted patient data collection systems in essentially all public and private Australian hospitals. The database is based on the national minimum data set for admitted patient care and includes demographic, administrative and length of stay data, and data on the diagnoses of the patients, the procedures they underwent in hospital and external causes of injury and poisoning.

    All public hospitals provide data for the NHMD, with the exception of a mothercraft hospital in the Australian Capital Territory.

    National Non-admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database (NNAPEDCD)

    The NNAPEDCD is a compilation of episode-level data for emergency department presentations in public hospitals. The database is based on the national minimum data set for non-admitted patient emergency department care. It includes data on the type and length of emergency department visit, triage category, waiting times, patient demographics, arrival mode and episode end status.

    Generally, the proportion of accident and emergency services covered by the NNAPEDCD is 100% for major, large and specialist women's and children's hospitals, but less for other types of hospitals. This means that emergency department waiting times may not be available for some smaller hospitals.

    National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Data Collection (NESWTDC)

    The NESWTDC provides episode-level data on patients waiting for elective surgery on waiting lists managed by public acute hospitals. The data supplied are based on the national minimum data set for elective surgery waiting times (removals). Included is information on the length of time waited, the surgical specialty and indicator procedures. Elective surgery census data are not reported on this website.

    All public hospitals that undertake elective surgery are generally included, but some are not. Some public patients treated under contract in private hospitals in Victoria and Tasmania are also included.

    Generally, the proportion of public hospital elective surgery covered by the NESWTDC is about 90%. It is 100% for New South Wales, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, and less for other states. This means that waiting times data are not available for some hospitals that provide elective surgery.

    National Outpatient Care Database (NOCD)

    The NOCD includes counts of individual occasions of service and group sessions by outpatient clinic type for selected public hospitals. The data supplied are based on the national minimum data set for outpatient care. They include data on the number of individual occasions of service and group sessions, by clinic type. Generally, all states and territories are able to provide summary data to the NOCD for all Principal referral and Specialist women's and children's hospitals; and all Large hospitals that managed outpatient clinic services. Some states and territories also provide outpatient care data for medium and small public hospitals. Coverage was about 79% of individual public hospital outpatient clinic occasions of service overall. This means that information on outpatient services may not be available for some hospitals that provide them.

    National Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia database (NSABD)

    The NSABD includes counts of cases of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) infections in public hospitals that are covered by infection surveillance programs. The data include the counts of days of patient care under surveillance. Generally, all states and territories are able to provide SAB data for all Principal referral and Specialist women's and children's hospitals and all Large hospitals. Some states and territories also provide SAB data for some medium and small public hospitals.

  3. Is the information on this website accurate?

    Is the information on this website accurate?

    States and territories are primarily responsible for the quality of data they provide. Routine data quality checks are conducted by the states and territories prior to submission for inclusion in national databases. The AIHW undertakes checks on receipt of data. Data are checked for valid values, and for internal and historical consistency. Potential errors are queried with jurisdictions, and corrections and resubmissions may be made in response to these queries. Data are not adjusted to account for possible data errors.

    Hospitals may differ from each other on performance indicators for a number of reasons. It can be useful to consider:

    • Whether there are actual differences in performance
    • Whether the differences are meaningful in terms of patient experiences or clinical outcomes
    • Whether differences are caused or influenced by variations in data classification or recording practices between hospitals or across time; and
    • Whether differences are influenced by variations in the complexity of the patients treated.
  4. Are there more recent statistics available?

    Are there more recent statistics available?

    The statistics presented on this website are the most up-to-date nationally consistent data available at the hospital level.

    Once data are collected from a hospital after the end of a financial year, they have to be checked and sent to the state or territory government, combined with all the other hospital data for that state or territory, then sent to the AIHW, checked again and analysed along with data for the whole country. There are millions of records to process every year, and all these processes can take a number of months to complete. This process helps to ensure that high quality data are reported.

    Individual states and territories may have more recent hospital statistics available, but they are not necessarily comparable between jurisdictions.

  5. State and territory information on hospitals

    State and territory information on hospitals

    More information about public hospital activity and performance can be found on individual state and territory websites. These links will take you to external webpages that may contain statistics not directly comparable to those on MyHospitals.

    New South Wales

    Victoria

    Queensland

    South Australia

    Western Australia

    Tasmania

    Northern Territory

    Australian Capital Territory

  6. National information about hospitals

    National information about hospitals

    The statistics presented on this website by the Performance Authority are intended to be locally relevant and nationally consistent. The Performance Authority will increasingly make information available to fairly compare the performance of local health care organisations.

  7. How do the statistics on this website compare to other published hospital statistics?

    How do the statistics on this website compare to other published hospital statistics?

    The statistics on this website are mainly sourced from national hospitals' databases, which are based on data provided by states and territories according to nationally agreed definitions. They may differ from statistics produced by states and territories, and individual hospitals that may be based on different definitions.

    Known differences in reporting practice for hospital statistics include:

    • elective surgery waiting times are variously reported based on annual admissions from waiting lists (as on this website), on quarterly admissions from waiting lists, or on numbers of people on waiting lists at a point in time;
    • elective surgery waiting times may be reported separately according to clinical urgency categories; these categories are not assigned consistently between hospitals or jurisdictions so are not included here;
    • elective surgery waiting times for patients awaiting 'staged procedures' (such as follow-up treatment after initial surgery, or the removal of pins or plates);
    • presentations excluded from emergency department waiting times calculations on MyHospitals, such as people who did not wait to see a medical professional, may be included in statistics published by other jurisdictions;
    • presentations for emergency department waiting times are lower than the number of presentations used to calculate time spent in emergency department as there are fewer exclusion criteria;
    • average length of stay calculations may include same-day admissions (excluded from calculations for MyHospitals);
    • counts of available beds can include counts at a particular point in time, whereas the data here are averages for the reporting period.

    Known differences in national collections over time include:

    • Non-admitted patient emergency department care National Minimum Data Set 2011-2012 underwent changes in 2011-2012 and was replaced by a Data Set Specification from 1 January 2012 to 30 June 2012. The changes were implemented in order to support comparable reporting of the National Emergency Access Target. Information about these changes can be found in NMDS (external link, opens in a new window) [http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/426881] and DSS (external link, opens in a new window) [http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/471595].
  8. Why does the information on this website differ between hospitals?

    Why does the information on this website differ between hospitals?

    The amount of information displayed on this website varies between hospitals. Some information only applies to larger or specialist hospitals. Other information that may be relevant to smaller hospitals cannot yet be measured and reported in a nationally consistent manner.

    Also, any measure based on fewer than 10 records in a reporting period has not been included. This helps to reduce invalid comparisons between hospitals in measures such as waiting times or average length of stay, which can be highly volatile if based on a very small number of cases. It may also help ensure privacy of the individuals involved. As a result data are not reported for all hospitals for each category even though activity may have occurred. However, if there were at least 10 records in a year or quarter, the measure is included for the year or quarter.

    Finally, there are differences between states and territories in admission practices and provision of certain types of health care in hospital or non-hospital settings. For more information on this and the effect of data definitions on the comparability of statistics at the hospital level, refer to the section of this page titled "Where does the information on this website come from?"

  9. Can the statistics on MyHospitals reveal my personal information?

    Can the statistics on MyHospitals reveal my personal information?

    National hospital databases do not contain personal information such as your name or address. The information in the databases cannot be used to trace the data to a specific case or individual. As an additional confidentiality measure, the exact number of cases for categories based on fewer than five records at a given hospital are not shown.

    An exception to this is the reporting of the number of cases of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia. For this measure, small counts are relevant to report, as the aim is to have as few cases as possible.

  10. How were the statistics on MyHospitals calculated?
  11. What other data sources are used for this website?

    What other data sources are used for this website?

    States and territories provided data to supplement the national hospital databases for some hospitals using state- or territory-specific definitions rather than uniform national definitions. This included some information on services provided by public hospitals, particularly smaller public hospitals.

    In most cases private hospital data was provided directly by individual hospitals or groups. Where private hospitals gave permission to present admitted patient statistics on MyHospitals, the data are extracted from the National Hospital Morbidity Database.

  12. What information does MyHospitals have about private hospitals?

    What information does MyHospitals have about private hospitals?

    Participation in MyHospitals by private hospitals is voluntary. For the 2009–10 reporting period, there were about 570 private hospitals in Australia. The website currently includes information for over 200 private hospitals, and more may be added over time. They include acute care and psychiatric hospitals as well as private free-standing day hospital facilities.

    Readers should note that private hospitals charge patients for care (emergency department and admissions) and private health insurance can be used by patients to meet some or all of the costs.

    Services provided

    A profile of selected specialist services provided is presented for each private hospital, using information supplied by the hospitals. The services shown are those for which similar information is available for public hospitals. It is not a comprehensive list of all services available at the hospital. For more information about the services available at a given hospital, please visit the hospital's external website via the link provided.

    Elective surgery

    MyHospitals shows elective surgery specialties provided by private hospitals. However, waiting times statistics are not reported as the data collection used to calculate nationally consistent measures is restricted to patients on waiting lists managed by public hospitals.

    Emergency departments

    Some private hospitals have emergency departments; these are included in the list of services provided, where applicable. Patients may incur a fee for treatment provided by private hospital emergency departments. MyHospitals does not present waiting times at emergency departments in private hospitals as there is currently no nationally consistent data source covering these hospitals. Presentations to emergency departments in private hospitals are not included in the calculation of national average waiting times shown on public hospital emergency department pages.

    Outpatient services

    Some private hospitals provide non-admitted day programs, clinics or consultations, collectively referred to on this website as outpatient services. These services may include individual, family or group programs.

    Safety and quality

    Some private hospitals voluntarily provided information on hand hygiene and Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia associated with care provided by the hospital.

    Stays in hospital

    Some private hospitals have elected not to have admitted patient statistics presented on MyHospitals at this time so information on number of stays and length of stay is not available for these hospitals.

    Where private hospitals gave permission to present admitted patient statistics on MyHospitals, the data are extracted from the National Hospital Morbidity Database using the same methodology applied to public hospitals (see How were the statistics on MyHospitals calculated, above).

    Profile

    Information on each hospital's profile page was provided by individual private hospitals or hospital groups.

    Bed numbers in private hospitals may refer to the number of beds (including chairs) the hospital is licensed for, rather than the average number of available beds as in public hospitals.

    Information about each hospital's accrediting body is included on MyHospitals. For consistency between sectors, accreditation is shown as at 30 June of the reporting period.

    Some private hospitals also provide information about their role in training students. While public hospitals were generally only able to report on teaching status with regard to medical undergraduate students, some private hospitals also reported involvement in training nursing and allied health students. The absence of this information for public hospitals does not necessarily mean that nursing and allied health students do not receive training in a public hospital; rather, the information is not currently available from existing national databases.

  13. Search for a service

    Search for a service

    The MyHospitals interactive map can be filtered using the Search for a service function to show only the hospitals that provide a selected service. The selected services include emergency care services, specialised care facilities, cancer treatment services, surgical specialties and outpatient clinics. The service categories and descriptions of each category are shown in the glossary.

    This information is based on data recorded in the National Public Hospital Establishments Database, the National Hospital Morbidity Database, The National Non-Admitted Patient Emergency Department Care Database, the National Outpatient Care Database and the National Elective Surgery Waiting Times Collection. Additional information was provided by states and territories, and by individual private hospitals.