Most definitions in this glossary contain an identification number from the Metadata Online Registry (METEOR). METEOR is Australia’s central repository for health, community services, and housing assistance metadata, or ‘data about data’. It provides definitions for data for topics related to health and community services, and specifications for related national minimum data sets. Visit METEOR.
For more information on the terms used in this report, see the definitions in the National health data dictionary version 16 (AIHW 2012).
access block: The situation where patients who have been admitted to hospital and need a hospital bed are delayed from leaving the Emergency Department (ED) because of lack of inpatient (admitted patient) bed capacity (ACEM 2014).
admitted patient: A patient who undergoes a hospital’s formal 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). METEOR id: 268957.
diagnosis classification type: The type of classification used for recording emergency department diagnoses. METEOR id: 651975.
duration of clinical care: The period between when clinical care commences and the end of the non‑admitted patient emergency department episode (physical departure from the emergency department).
emergency department stay: The period between when a patient presents at an emergency department, and when that person is recorded as having physically departed the emergency department. METEOR id: 472757.
emergency department waiting time to admission: Time elapsed for each patient from presentation to the emergency department to admission to hospital. This is calculated from physical departure date and time minus presentation date and time for those emergency department patients who are admitted.
emergency department waiting time to clinical care: Time elapsed in minutes for each patient from presentation in the emergency department to the commencement of the emergency department non‑admitted clinical care. METEOR id: 621840.
episode: See emergency department stay.
episode end status: The status of the patient at the end of the non‑admitted patient emergency department service episode. METEOR id: 616654 for the NAPEDC NMDS and METEOR id: 645857 for the NAPEDC NBEDS.
hospital: A health care facility established under Commonwealth, state, or territory legislation as a hospital or a free‑standing day procedure unit, and authorised to provide treatment and/or care to patients.
METEOR id: 404245.
Indigenous status: A measure of whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. This is in accord with the first 2 of 3 components of the Australian Government definition:
An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.
METEOR id: 602543.
major diagnostic block: The urgency related group major diagnostic block category into which the patient’s emergency department diagnosis is grouped. METEOR id: 547612.
non‑admitted patient: A patient who does not undergo a hospital’s formal admission process. There are 3 categories of non‑admitted patient: emergency department patient, outpatient, and other non‑admitted patient (treated by hospital employees of the hospital site—includes community/outreach services). METEOR id: 268973.
non‑admitted patient emergency department service episode: The treatment or care between when a patient presents at an emergency department, and when the non‑admitted patient emergency department clinical care ends. METEOR id: 474114.
patient presentation at emergency department: The presentation of a patient at an emergency department occurs following the arrival of the patient at the emergency department. It is the earliest occasion of being registered clerically, or triaged. METEOR id: 471889.
peer group: A classification of hospitals into broadly similar groups in terms of characteristics.
METEOR id: 584661.
performance indicator: A statistic or other unit of information that reflects, directly or indirectly, the extent to which an expected outcome is achieved, or the quality of processes leading to that outcome.
presentation: See patient presentation at emergency department. Also used as the counting unit for emergency department care.
principal diagnosis: The diagnosis established at the conclusion of the patient’s attendance in an emergency department to be mainly responsible for occasioning the attendance following consideration of clinical assessment. METEOR id: 651874.
private hospital: A privately (non-government) owned and operated institution, catering for patients who are treated by a doctor of their own choice. Patients are charged fees for accommodation and other services provided by the hospital and relevant medical and paramedical practitioners. Acute care and psychiatric hospitals are included, as are private free‑standing day hospital facilities.
public hospital: A hospital controlled by a state or territory health authority. Public hospitals offer free diagnostic services, treatment, care and accommodation to all eligible patients.
remoteness area: A classification of the remoteness of a location using the Australian Statistical Geography Standard Remoteness Structure (2016). The Australian Statistical Geography Standard‑Remoteness Area is a geographical classification that defines locations in terms of remoteness, that is, the physical distance of a location from the nearest urban centre. METEOR id: 531713.
triage category: A category used in the emergency departments of hospitals to indicate the urgency of the patient’s need for medical and nursing care. Patients are triaged into 1 of 5 categories on the Australasian Triage Scale.
- Resuscitation (triage category 1) is the most urgent category. It is for conditions that are immediately life threatening-such as heart attack, severe burns or injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Patients in this category should be seen within 2 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
- Emergency (triage category 2) is for conditions that could be life threatening and require prompt attention such as chest pain or possible stroke. Patients in this category should be seen within 10 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
- Urgent (triage category 3) is for serious but stable conditions, such as wounds or abdominal pain. Patients in this category should be seen within 30 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
- Semi-urgent (triage category 4) is for conditions such as broken arms or legs. Patients in this category should be seen within 60 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
- Non-urgent (triage category 5) is the least urgent category. It is for problems or illnesses such as cough or cold. Patients in this category should be seen within 160 minutes of presenting to the emergency department.
The triage category is allocated by an experienced registered nurse or medical practitioner. METEOR id: 646659.
ACEM (Australasian College for Emergency Medicine) 2016: Guidelines on the implementation of the Australasian triage scale in emergency departments. Melbourne: ACEM. Viewed September 2018.