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The Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRGs) is a classification system, that provides a clinically meaningful way to relate or group the number and type of patients treated in admitted acute episodes of care to the resources required in treatment. AR-DRGs group patients with similar diagnoses requiring similar hospital services. 

Episodes of admitted acute care are assigned disease and intervention codes by health information managers or clinical coders. AR-DRGs are then assigned based on these codes and a number of other routinely collected variables including: age, sex, separation mode, length of stay, same-day status, admission weight for neonates and hours of mechanical ventilation.  

This process of assigning patient episodes to an AR-DRG is complex and is carried out using software that contains the AR-DRG algorithms, referred to as a 'grouper'.

AR-DRGs are used to calculate public hospital funding on an activity basis. They are also used for:

  • performance management
  • benchmarking
  • funding agreements between private hospitals and insurers
  • education
  • epidemiology
  • research into the quality of healthcare and patient safety
  • health service planning.

The AR-DRG classification system is currently updated every three years along with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification, Australian Classification of Health Interventions, Australian Coding Standards classification (ICD-10-AM/ACHI/ACS). Both classification systems are updated on a regular basis to ensure they are fit for purpose and remain clinically current. Recent releases are outlined below.

Classification system Release date Implementation date
AR-DRG Version 10.0 Mid 2019 July 2020
AR-DRG Version 11.0 Mid 2022 July 2023

AR-DRG previous versions

IHACPA in consultation with stakeholders, has advised the timeline for the phasing out of the support for older versions of the AR-DRG classification in use in Australia.

From 1 July 2022 AR-DRG Version 7.0 (and any versions prior to this) are not supported. Further information can be found on the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care website.

Requests for content change 

You can suggest changes to the AR-DRG and ICD-10-AM/ACHI/ACS classification systems via public submissions through the Australian Classification Exchange (ACE)

We encourage you to learn more about the requirements and process before lodging your submission. 

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