User guide

The data cubes can be used to explore a range of clinical data related to hospital separations. This document will provide some tips on how to utilise the data cubes generally and how to deal with the different formats in which the cubes are provided.

From the 2015-16 financial year, hospitals data cubes have been made available in Excel format. Prior to 2015-16 hospitals data cubes are available in the SAS cubes software. The guide for extraction of information from these cubes depends on the format in which they are available.

Hospitals data cubes 2015-16 and later

The excel data cube workbooks consist of two sheets:

  • Procedure Counts Data contains separation statistics by ACHI procedure by age group by sex by same-day status.
  • Procedure Counts Summary contains a pivot table showing procedure counts by ACHI procedure code. This pivot table can be modified to various levels by right clicking on the table, selecting ‘Show Field List’ and then modifying the pivot table as desired.


  • Variables in the ROWS list can be removed to disaggregate at higher levels.
  • Variable such as age group, sex and/or same-day flag can be dragged to the COLUMNS list to disaggregate by these variables.

 Hospital data cubes  prior to 2015-16

These data cubes will open in a new window. Data will be displayed at the most aggregated level.


Expanding categories and sub-categories

Clicking on the plus (+) symbols against each row will expand that item into its relevant sub categories, within the current view.

Clicking the arrow symbols beside the plus will expand the category and also limit the view to just that expanded area of interest.

Right clicking on category headings such as  Chapter will bring up a menu where you can click ‘Expand All’, which will expand every item in that list. If you also do this with the subchapter and block headings you can expand out the entire data cube and display all of the available information.


Adding breakdowns

In the default view, the cube will just present the number of procedures by year but you can also add other breakdowns such as by Age group and sex.

To add an extra breakdown,  right click on one of the numbers in the cube and choose ‘Assign data’.


Then choose which variables to add to rows or columns of the cube.


Exporting data to Excel

The current view of the data cube can easily be exported to Excel by choosing ‘Export…’ from the ‘File’ menu, and then saving the zipped file to your computer. When extracting the zip archive you will need to extract all files in the archive before opening the downloaded Excel document.

Exporting the whole data cube

To do this, first see the notes about Expanding the categories and sub categories first and using Expand All. Then once you have the full view of the cube, export the data as per the step above.

Tips on using the Procedures data cube

Note that the use of the different ACHI editions in the data cubes over time means that data across years may not be exactly comparable.

One or more procedures can be reported for each separation in the National Hospital Morbidity Database, but procedures are not undertaken for all hospital admissions, and so only a proportion of the separation records include procedure data.

Within the cubes, users can view the procedures by working down from the broad chapter level in the ACHI classifications to more specific categories (i.e. procedure code), as illustrated below.

  • ACHI Chapter
    • ACHI Sub-Chapter
      • ACHI Block number
        • ACHI Procedure code

For example:

  • 7. Procedures on Respiratory System (Blocks 520-569)
    • Lung and Pleura (Blocks 548-558)
      • Block 549 Incision procedures on lung or pleura
        • 38415-00 Incision of pleura 

Users of the data cubes are likely to require some familiarity with the Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI) and can also refer to the Australian Hospital Statistics publications. Users will generally need to know what chapter the information they are looking for is in, to work down to more specific levels of detail. More information about the breakdowns and categories used within the data cube are given below.

Australian Classification of Health Interventions

The Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI) is the Australian national standard for procedure and intervention coding in Australian hospitals, based around the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). Guidelines for the use of ACHI are contained in the Australian Coding Standards (ACS).

There are some differences in the coding between editions and these will be reflected in the cube. Readers should refer to the further information section below for information on how to access the full classification and for detailed information on the differences between ACHI editions.

ACHI has been structured with a principal axis of anatomical site. Within each chapter the anatomical site has been structured by a 'head-to-toe' approach. The secondary axis is procedure type, beginning with the least invasive procedure through to the most invasive procedure. Due to the historical development of ACHI, code numbers do not always appear in numerical order within the tabular list. A third level axis, called a block, has been introduced. Blocks are numbered sequentially in the tabular list to assist clinical coders in locating a specific code and have titles that relate specifically to the codes within the block. There are certain chapters that are an exception to the general format: Dental services, Obstetric procedures, Radiation oncology procedures, Non-invasive, cognitive and other interventions, not classified elsewhere and Imaging services.

The following is a list of the ACHI procedure chapters and the code ranges covered by each under Edition 10 of the ACHI:


Procedure classification

Block range


Procedures on Nervous System



Procedures on Endocrine System



Procedures on Eye and Adnexa



Procedures on Ear and Mastoid Process



Procedures on Nose, Mouth and Pharynx



Dental Services



Procedures on Respiratory System



Procedures on Cardiovascular System



Procedures on Blood and Blood-Forming Organs



Procedure on Digestive System



Procedures on Urinary System



Procedures on Male Genital Organs



Gynaecological Procedures



Obstetric Procedures



Procedures on Musculoskeletal System



Dermatological and Plastic Procedures



Procedures on Breast



Radiation Oncology Procedures



Non-invasive, Cognitive and Other Interventions, not elsewhere classified



Imaging Services


Block numbers and procedure codes can vary across editions, with the same block numbers representing two different procedure groups. This should be taken into consideration when comparing data using different ACHI editions. Separate cubes exist for each of the ICD-10-AM/ACHI editions as it is difficult to map across editions.