Australian Burden of Disease conditions

The estimation of expenditure for each of the Australian Burden of Disease Study conditions marks the most comprehensive update on disease expenditure compared with previous studies.

The Burden of Disease conditions list contains 216 conditions in 17 groups. This is not an exhaustive list of all possible health conditions and, as such, the expenditure associated with ‘other’ conditions within a group is relatively large.

  • Excluding the four ‘not elsewhere classified' groupings, the conditions with the highest expenditure were other cardiovascular, other musculoskeletal, and dental caries.
  • Excluding all ‘other’ conditions within groups, the specific conditions with the highest expenditure were dental caries, falls, and osteoarthritis.

Expenditure on conditions varies by sex.

  • For females, expenditure was highest on other reproductive conditions (which includes healthy childbirth), other cardiovascular conditions, and other maternal conditions. For specific conditions, the highest were falls, osteoarthritis, and back pain and problems.
  • For males, expenditure was highest on other cardiovascular diseases, other musculoskeletal conditions, and other injuries. For specific conditions, the highest were falls, osteoarthritis, and coronary heart disease.

Dental expenditure is not currently able to be reported by age and sex, except when provided through the MBS or in a public or private hospital. This ranking of conditions for sexes therefore excludes the bulk of dental expenditure.

It is important to note that the cost of disease is not just financial: being unwell or suffering from a health condition has other effects on quality of life, affecting people’s ability to work or do the activities they enjoy. These expenditure estimates do not include direct costs from outside of the health care sector or estimates of the indirect costs due to illness.

Looking at how much is financially expended on treating, managing, or preventing conditions does not tell the full story, which is why the AIHW also studies disease in terms of its ‘burden’, or human cost, which can be found in the Australian Burden of Disease Study report.

Due to methodological differences, the expenditure on a disease or condition relative to the burden cannot be used to draw conclusions about the relative level of funding for conditions. These aspects are explained further in the How do we measure the cost of disease? fact sheet.

The following interactive data visualisations can be used to display expenditure on condition groups by age and sex, for each area of expenditure. Data used to create the visualisations can also be downloaded as an Excel workbook.

Note that expenditure in this visualisation is prepared on a different basis than in the Health Expenditure Australia reports. For details on the estimation methods, scope of data included, and comparability to previous studies, readers are directed to the Disease Expenditure 2015–16 Study: Overview of analysis and methodology report.